Editor's Note: An opposing view to this column can be found here.
A common tongue-in-cheek response to someone’s young daughter entering the realm of dating is “Are you going to get a gun?”
This seemingly light-hearted question exemplifies a broader culture that shelters men from consequences for their actions.
The Brett Kavanaugh hearing goes hand in hand with this question. I will go ahead and say the quiet part out loud: women are often treated as stepping stones in a man’s journey. The Kavanaugh hearing is a stain to America, but it is a stain because it brings to the forefront just one aspect of our virulent experience with sexism and misogyny.
Why do we take Kavanaugh’s words at face value and not Christine Blasey Ford’s? These are the kinds of questions that subtly hint at our culture of hostile sexism. This instance is only bubbling at the surface of a much, much larger body of water.
Being a nice, well-dressed and community-involved man does not preclude you from being abusive. In fact, it oftentimes is the very people we look up to. If the #MeToo movement has taught us anything, powerful men often can and do abuse their power and women.
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The power imbalance present in this culture is how our abusers feign victimhood when women call out the very practices that subjugate us. It’s an effective tactic that gaslights women and denies responsibility.
Understanding our politics as a system of checks and balances, this process is supposed to be the vetting process– the job interview of all job interviews. This is a position we should want to especially scrutinize over.
Whether we should have a lifetime appointment to an entity with such permanent and sweeping powers is an entirely different conversation. But there should be such strict scrutiny for the very reason that whomever we appoint to this position has the ability to directly influence what many call the “game” of politics.
Unfortunately, this little “game” is theoretically far removed from our day-to-day lives, but in reality, they are anything but removed from us. Think Dred Scott. Think Plessy. Think Korematsu.
America does not exactly have the best track record, but every decision we face is an opportunity to get it right, or to at least try.
It should not be unreasonable to expect that we not appoint an individual who spouts hyper-partisan conspiracy theories in his opening statement; it should not be unreasonable to expect that a Supreme Court justice possess the capacity to articulate a position without belittling potential colleagues and peers; it should not be unreasonable to expect that such an individual be able to undergo meaningful self-reflection and criticism.
If he says that this questioning was a tough process and he reasonably could not “keep his cool,” how can we trust him with some of the most controversial and consequential topics in our nation?
I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Regardless of whether you do or not, you should be frightened or at the very least concerned by the potential appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to our Supreme Court.
Emily Hale is a graduate student at Auburn University.
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