Depending on whom you ask, this week’s Senate judiciary committee hearing was polarizing, a circus, a disgrace, eye opening, necessary or some such combination thereof. To some, a good man’s reputation has been besmirched by political interests. To others, a brave woman has come forward with information she felt compelled to share borne of a horrific past event. Has anything been accomplished?
I would argue ‘yes’ in spite of many who presided over the hearings. From grandstanding to pontification to partisanship many of the senators asking the questions did not do themselves nor the process any favors. ‘Did you ever drink during the week (during high school),’ asked one Democrat ridiculously. On the Republican side the deference, disinterest and all too common silence spoke volumes.
Yet, while the lives of Judge Kavanagh and Professor Blasey Ford will never be the same the public forum and discourse, while painful, are incredibly important. Because the issue of sexual harassment and impropriety have, for the first time since the beginning of the #MeTooMovement, moved from the media tabloids and corporate boardrooms into the realm of elected legislators. And despite the politics and unpleasantness, this particular forum has forced us to listen and question and believe – or not. To consider why, far too often, women don’t “come out” sooner if at all.
The testimony of Ms. Blassey Ford, in fact, was so compelling that even the President finally conceded an FBI investigation was warranted and necessary. Will the truth prevail? One would hope. Although if the FBI does find something, it will be questioned right up to the Oval office. But despite the final outcome, and a confirmation or not, one would also hope that we can look beyond political affiliations and contemplate interpersonal relationships and understanding between the sexes. That ‘no’ means ‘no.’ That wrongdoing should be reported. That, in such instances, there is due process and investigation. That one should not be free to hide behind privilege or bedroom doors. We can only hope that, in the end, truth will win out – and endure.