A few years back when my daughter was a teenager, she had a problem with a contact lens that had scratched her eye. It was tremendously painful, and it happened late at night, so I took her to the emergency room at our local hospital.
We sat in a curtained room waiting to be seen. The wait took quite a while. As it happened, there was an intoxicated man in the next stall over. He was strapped to a table with an armed police guard standing watch over him.
The drunk guy was yelling, “I want my booze!” over and over again. Occasionally he’d lace that sentence with an expletive or two for special emphasis.
An hour passed as we waited and finally the drunk guy started to settle down. We could see him through a crack between the curtains as he leaned his head back and turned his attention to the policeman guarding him. “Why did you do this to me?” he complained.
The officer stood there calmly and replied: “I did not do this to you, sir. You did this to yourself.”
I think about that incident as the testimony is about to unfold today in the case of Brett Kavanaugh, the Republican nominee for a lifetime position as a Supreme Court Justice. As news has emerged of testimony by multiple women accusing Kavanaugh of a range of sexually violent behavior, the potential justice has categorically denied it all. Not just some of it. All of it.
Perhaps we’ll see a dramatic turn of events and Kavanaugh’s name will indeed be cleared. An entire lineup of archly conservative Republicans ranging from Newt Gingrich to the peripatetic Senator Lindsay Graham has classified the progression of accusations as a “character assassination.”
But that’s a political claim. The Republican-led Judiciary Committee refuses to allow an FBI investigation. So they don’t really want to know the truth. They want to blame the Democrats for allowing any real sort of truth to come out, preferring instead the version of “truth” they want to use in order to shove Kavanaugh through this process before the GOP loses control of the government in the November elections.
Drunk with power
To gain some perspective on the true context of the situation, we need to consider that the entire Republican Party has been on a power binge since the Donald Trump Train rolled over the nation. Drunk with permission to do what they want, wild with authority granted by control of both the House and the Senate. And the Supreme Court. That’s the branch of government they so desperately desire to lock up for decades.
But first, Republicans have engaged in a power-drunk bender of passing tax cuts for the wealthy even as their pet President imposes tariffs on our trade allies. Why, Trump is even handing out $50B to support farmers after gutting prices on soy beans and corn through ill-conceived penalties on China. The nation will have a hangover from Republican grain alcohol for years. All while gutting those pesky environmental laws in a fit of pique over being questioned all these years about why their industrialist allies pollute and waste our national resources with aplomb.
But like so many things in life, especially excessive habits, a price must sooner or later be paid.
Now one of their chosen has been strapped to the gurney of accountability and Republicans don’t like it one bit. Kavanaugh is accused of violent sexual behavior in his youth, but he is denying everything and anything that ever happened. In so doing, he has become the poster child for every hypocritical Republican claiming to be a paragon of family values while dire secrets hidden in the past come pouring out of the closet. There’s a pattern here.
Because we’ve already witnessed the downfall of Good Ole Boy Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the House, whose career went South when legitimate allegations of child sexual abuse were corroborated. Many of those abuses happened long ago and were buried under piles of hush money paid by Hastert to buy the silence of his victims.
The current President of the United States openly questioned the legitimacy of Kavanaugh’s growing list of accusers on basis that Poor Old Donald Trump has been falsely accused of such behavior in the past. But Trump has also openly admitted to sexual abuse of women on multiple occasions. He has also paid for the silence of women with whom he had sexual affairs. These transgressions were far more recent and even more telling about the character of the President than the accusations made against Kavanaugh, who seemingly behaved very badly as a stupid kid drunk with the power of his own appetites.
So it’s a sick little cabal that is in operation right now. How many more Republicans side with Kavanaugh because they fear the evidence of their own past? We hear people whine in the news that from now on “no man is safe” from the accusations of women from their past. But if men have committed sins the likes of which Kavanaugh is accused, then that information should be public knowledge if they intend to accept political or public positions. The nation does need to know who it can trust. People with dark lies in their past are far more likely to commit dark lies in the present. Their judgment is inextricably skewed by the repression required to hide and ignore those sins.
We need the Republican Party in this country. We need the conscience and values it once could claim as foundations to its existence. We need the Republican Party of Dwight D. Eisenhower and even, to some degree, the party of Richard M. Nixon, whose administration, while ultimately corrupt, did install the EPA as a protection for American’s natural and human resources.
The real story here is that Republicans appear to be ignoring both very recent history and the truth of dark deeds done in the past. But we did not do this to you, Republicans. You did this to yourself.