Match of the Century: Kavanaugh vs. Ford (9.27.18)
It’s raining again in Richmond, VA. It feels like it has been raining for 2 weeks straight. Maybe Mother Earth and the heavens are crying for the aftereffects of #HurricaneFlorence – the catastrophic damage done to people’s lives, homes, communities, the loss of lives including the millions of dead animals from the mass production of animals in factories located in the flooded areas, the damage to the environment, and, the Kavanaugh/Ford hearing. People are suffering. Nature is suffering. Our environment is suffering.
I watched the Kavanaugh/Ford testimonies today for 9 hours with my three daughters who are 16, 14, and 12. The benefit of homeschooling is watching history and herstory in the making. I prefer to watch important events myself so that I can form my own opinion about what I experienced rather than hearing soundbites about the critical event after the fact through various media sources. Today was interesting.
First and foremost, I do not like Sen. Chuck Grassley. He came across as grumpy, highly irritable, and continuously reminding himself that he needed to be kind and respectful to Christine Blasey Ford who has accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when she was 15 years old and he was 17 years old. These allegations are serious and need to be investigated by non-partisan investigators to verify the truth. People are human beings. People make mistakes, however people that sit on the Supreme Court need to be held to the highest standards of our society. No one is perfect. But if you screw up, it’s important to take responsibility for your actions and be truthful about it. Rosalina, age 12, stated today, while she was creating a full size coffin decoration for Halloween, “Why do they make them take an oath to tell the truth when people are going to lie anyway?”
The next comments are going to be a stream of consciousness rather than written statements:
Christine Blasey Ford:
people pleaser – too nice and too accommodating to Chairman Chuck Glasser
honest in how she answered questions – if she did not know an answer immediately, she seemed to want to get the answer right and give an answer as quickly as possible – very accommodating
classic behavior for someone who has experienced sexual assault at a young age – speaks from the child’s voice – the age at which she was attacked – when talking about the assault, tears up with her face full of emotion when people are kind and expressing supportive comments and/or giving feedback to her about her heroic action to come forward, speaks from her adult voice when asked questions about current day timing and schedules, speaks as an adult with conviction about her struggle with when and why she came forward to share this very personal, traumatic experience
The most compelling details of her story for me were 1.) She was pushed into a bedroom from behind 2.) The guys locked the bedroom door 3.) Two guys were laughing maniacally at each other while Brett Kavanaugh held his hand over her mouth to keep her screams from being heard 4.) She made eye contact with Mark Judge several times hoping that he would help her 5.) Mark Judge did nothing. 6.) She bumped into Mark Judge by chance approximately 6 weeks later while he was working at Safeway and his face turned white.
The venue and/or strategy for questioning Christine Blasey Ford, Ph.D., was highly publicized and chaotic which was the worst set-up for allowing a person who was sexually assaulted to discuss such a personal, private, embarrassing, uncomfortable, traumatizing experience.
The Republican Senators hired a female Sex Crimes Prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, to act as a shield and the high inquisitor for all of their inquiries toward Christine Blasey Ford. It was bizarre to say the least. First of all, prosecutors are the ones that fight and dig and attack people who are being accused of something. They are the devil’s advocate. This was not a trial, it was a hearing to share information. People are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. Yet this set up felt like Christine Blasey Ford was presumed guilty, period. Every Republican Senator on this Judicial Committee was a white male. And most of them were elderly with white hair. It felt like the white old male patriarchy was looking down at Christine Blasey Ford pointing their finger at her saying, “Sit. Shut up missy.” And then they hid behind the female hired assassin Rachel Mitchell who looked like an overweight version of Professor Umbridge in Harry Potter. At times Mitchell smiled, chuckled, and giggled with Ford as if to establish trust – a girl bond. The High Inquisitor Mitchell had a stack of 8.5″ x 11″ papers in front of her at least 8-12 inches high. Every time she asked a question of Ford, she emphatically slapped a piece of paper on the stack as if saying, “Doomed.” building a mountain of white paper damning this potentially credibly witness. The move was intimidating. The visual was unnerving. Her goal was to appear to be an expert in power and she was effective.
The set up of the hearing alternating questions from Democratic and Republican Senators was disruptive and absurd. Each Judicial Committee member had 5 minutes to ask their questions. The chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley looked and acted like the worst version of Ebenezer Scrooge. Christine Blasey Ford went from receiving affirmations of her traumatic experience and over the top accolades of heroism from the Democratic Senators to questions about specific times and places from the High Inquisitor for the White Male Republicans slapping white papers on her towering stack in front of her like a death sentence. Ford’s brain had to quickly switch from receiving warmth and support to “come here my pretty” every 5 minutes so that her emotions bounced up and down the entire session like they were on a pogo stick.
At one point, Rachel Mitchell had a helper appear out of the wings with a large map of the neighborhood in question for the house party where the assault occurred to verify the distance which Ford at age 15 had to travel to get back to her home after the attack. Ford was trying to verify the information and looked somewhat rattled, because I sensed that she wanted to answer questions as accurately and truthfully as possible. STOP RIGHT THERE. I was sexually abused and assaulted at age 8 by my father. I remember SIGNIFICANT details of what he did to me at that time (pulling me into the bed, what nightgown I had on, it was morning, my mom sent me in to wake him up, my parents bedroom was dark, my dad said, “This is another way for someone to love someone,” “don’t tell your mother,” his breathing was weird, he acted like he was possessed, he didn’t act like he was the father that I knew and loved, he touched my 8 year old nipples, he touched my 8 year old vulva and/or vagina that did not have a name that I was aware of other than being a hidden, unmentionable body part, etc. I felt terrorized, petrified, scared to death, horrified, screaming out loud on the inside, confused, etc.) I can remember all of these details vividly since the event happened, however I CANNOT tell you what a did after I was assaulted. Did I go cry in my room? Throw up in the bathroom? Break things in my room? Hide in the closet? Curl up in a ball and cry? Hit my brother out of anger? Tell my mother what happened? Go watch TV and escape? I DON’T REMEMBER THOSE DETAILS, BECAUSE I WAS TRAUMATIZED. I WAS SEXUALLY ASSAULTED AND MY BRAIN KEPT CERTAIN DETAILED MEMORIES AND BLOCKED OUT OTHER DETAILS. People like Christine Blasey Ford and me were in moments of fight or flight trying to survive the experience. It’s not the best moment in your life where birds are singing, the sun is shining, a cool breeze is blowing on your skin, and you feel blissful and happy. It’s life or death. How do I cope with this shit that does not make sense? How do I survive or manage this trauma and information that I just experienced (which is more traumatic the younger you are when you are attacked)?
The hearing broke for lunch and I could feel a shift in the atmosphere afterwords. Every time that the hearing took another break there was a shift in the energy. The Democrats and Republicans were strategizing behind the scenes and executing plans A, B, C, D, E, F, etc.
Then Brett Kavanuagh entered the room all alone. The backdrop to his questioning was staged with attractive females flanking him on both sides in the front row. He organized his space. He was in control, but he was also very intense. He had a lot of water bottles in front of him. He looked stressed. His face was tense, intense, and white with splotches of red. He claimed that he wrote his speech himself and he read it with intensity.
My stream of consciousness of Brett Kavanaugh:
vulnerable when talking about his parents, friends, and 10 year old daughter
I was overwhelmed with Kavanaugh’s anger and rage. He was like a rabid white and red tiger fighting for his life. He was pissed off. How dare anyone accuse him of anything! How dare anyone tarnish his reputation! How dare anyone make him reflect and evaluate his life and actions.
Most of his answers wavered between a defiant teenager caught in a lie and well rehearsed talking points – in other words a script where you don’t answer people’s questions, you just restate the information that you want to cement into the public airwaves. He was incredibly disrespectful to the Democratic senators and he was overly polite and grateful to the Republican senators.
Defining moments in Kavanaugh’s questioning:
The Republicans fired Sex Crimes Prosecutor Rachel Mitchell after she had Kavanaugh read a definition of sexual assault on a white piece of paper to himself. To me, Kavanaugh seemed somewhat surprised at some of the information. It felt like a “Shit. Really?” moment to me. And then he regained his game face to fight. It felt like Trump and/or Republican strategists said, “Time out! Pull the prosector! Bring in the offensive line!”
Since these accusations have come forth, it feels like Kavanaugh has for the first time ever possibly reflected on and evaluated his past behaviors and actions. As Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Kavanaugh’s wife sat in the front row to his right, the camera’s left, during his questioning. Her face and body language were fascinating. She looked pissed off, angry, sad, and stone faced the entire questioning. The only time her face shifted was when Kavanuagh shared that their 10 year old daughter told them to, “Pray for the woman.” She teared up slightly.
Kavanaugh teared up and fought back many, many more tears than Christine Blasey Ford did. During those tears, I felt his vulnerability as a human being. Again, it seemed like the past 2 weeks were the first time this man has every truly reflected on his life, his past friendships, his behaviors, and his actions. Maybe he has been a stellar adult, but his formative years as a teenager and young adult look and sound like drunk, obnoxious characters in Animal House.
Time will tell how these two conflicting stories play out in our society. Herstory. History. Reality. Truth. Spin. God help us everyone.