The daily drama related to the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court appointment process is thankfully over. But anger on both political sides lingers. Some are furious at his appointment; others at his interview ordeal.

I confess I share my thoughts here as if I’m standing on some very thin ice…but I’m skating ahead. Whichever side we took, or switched to, throughout the process, I wonder if we can agree on these observations:

Christine Blasey Ford was convincingly believable in her testimony. Over time and throughout the high pressure of the situation she went through, I was increasingly impressed by her calm, sincere demeanor; her patience with the invasive nature of the questioning; her honesty about details she couldn’t recall; and her emotional vulnerability at what she did remember.

Only a very few people know who it was who assaulted her at a high school party gone very wrong. But to me there is no        denying: that woman was mistreated, demeaned and probably assaulted by some man. It broke my heart for her.

Kavanaugh, too, was entirely believable, especially in his prepared statements. Like you and I would have been, he was clearly offended and hurt by the characterizations made against him by those who hardly know him—or those who only knew him 36 years ago.

I thought he had every right to express his pain and anger at the process. I wondered how I would feel if I was accused of behavior that I was convinced was not only unfair, but untrue. I got a lump in my throat when Kavanaugh spoke of the request his daughter made to “pray for the woman.”

The process is an indictment against the crude, myopic, disrespectful state of American politics we now live in. I wonder who in their right mind would want to be the next candidate, proposed by either political party, for a Supreme Court appointment. That used to be the honor of a lifetime. Now this is the kind of treatment and abuse he or she can expect from those who will reflexively oppose the appointment.

Seriously? This is how we want it to work? The current state of our politics should be an embarrassment to all of us.

The accusations against Kavanaugh, regardless of their accuracy, are actually an indictment against the morals of our own society. He’s a man who grew up in a male-permissive culture which—through countless voices from TV, movies, strutting “jocks”, fraternities, and the whispers and goading of his own peers—communicated the message, “C’mon be a man, get what you can. Take whatever you want. Your manliness, your value as a guy, is determined by how many women you get.” I know; I was there, too.

It saddens, bewilders and even angers me that a boy of 17 can be exposed to countless broken messages of entitlement by his society, then held to completely opposite expectations by the same society four decades later.

Then that man is publicly condemned, regardless of the transformation and lessons-learned that might have taken place in those decades of potential growth and change. What unbelievable hypocrisy!

I’m convinced Ford was abused by a man.

I’m convinced Kavanaugh is an imperfect, but talented man who is genuinely respected by scores of men and women who have worked alongside him throughout his career.

I’m also convinced it’s about time American culture learns how to encourage and respect real masculinity while countering the still-present voices that promote random sexual promiscuity from men.

Further, it’s stunningly hypocritical that our society urges women to assert that same random promiscuity in their own sexual lives. It’s if they are being told, “Don’t be women. Be more like broken men.” It boggles the mind.

I feel compassion toward Ford. I feel sympathy toward Kavanaugh. I feel anger toward our cultural hypocrisy and our gutter-level politics. When will we learn? What can we do in response?

How about if each of us commits to being a voice for respectful political dialogue? What if each of us commits to consistently demonstrating respect toward the opposite gender?

Given our current climate I know that may feel like walking on thin ice. I’ll go first.

11 Comments

  1. Craig: Great comments and reflections on the Kavanaugh hearings. I especially appreciated your insights on the pervasive immorality and hypocrisy of our culture on what it means to be a man or woman. You may have been skating on thin ice but you just landed a triple jump!

    • Thanks for joining the conversation… and for cheering, Bob.

    • Craig, Excellent word. You continue to be a steadying voice in a seismic landscape. Thank you for helping us think beyond our biases and take a higher view.

  2. I appreciated your comments as well, Craig. But I think we are remiss in failing to state a problem as great as the men’s problem that we now face. “If a woman says it, it’s true. If a man says it, it’s subject to the rules of evidence.” A mere allegation for most men can strip him of honor, job and even family…without proof, with allegations alone. The recent case of the 9 year old minority boy accused of sexual assault by a white woman who “suffered” the brush of his backpack against her buttock is simply one example of what men and boys face in our super-feminized society. It’s not just men. The gender war does exist, and only the grace of God can save both sexes from the consequences of an overly sexualized America.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comments, John. Your reference reveals part of the reason we face such heated and complex circumstances. Our instantaneous, unedited, and global social media regularly confront us with men or women whose responses to an “offense” are absurd or exaggerated. Further inflaming the issue. “…only the grace of God can save both sexes…” Amen.

  3. Well said, Craig! Thank you.

  4. Craig, you have spoken with truth and compassion. The only sad reminder I feel compelled to add is that WE are the culture. The leaders who conducted that despicable process of hearings are the leaders we have sent to represent us, and they support the polarized positions we have sent the hem there with mandates to uphold. As a wise “philosopher” once said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us!” Let’s pray for revival in America, starting with us who name the name of Jesus.

    • Good insight, Michael. I feel similarly. I nearly entitled this post I’m Angry With Us, but felt that was too vague and I preferred not to just land on being angry. Too easy. Let’s admit our concerns and then try to do something constructive about them. We would do well to look ourselves in the mirror and ask, “Am I part of exacerbating the problem? Can I be part of resolving the problem?” Pretty sure I recognize your “philosopher” as being Pogo of comic strip fame. How true.

  5. Craig, I certainly appreciate your thoughts and your willingness to traverse potentially very thin ice. There is a side to this that I believe is likely being neglected by the culture at large and even by “the Church”: How many men have been falsely accused and/or have been the victims of sexual malfeasance. Over the last year I have been a part of several extended conversations, involving quite a number of people, and I have been amazed to discover just how many men have admitted to having been victims.

    A couple of personal examples: I myself was falsely accused of misconduct regarding a female cadet, several decades ago, while at the Oregon Police Academy. I nearly saw the demise of my newly established career, having just bought our first house and our first child was only one year old. Thankfully, the gal’s roommate came forward and told the Director that the accusations were false, the accuser ended up admitting they were false and she was dismissed from the Academy. The problem was that my agency was notified of the original accusations and that followed my career.

    Without elaborating on the extensive details, one of my sons was was also falsely accused while in college. He was accused, by a girl who was supposedly his friend, of a horrible phone call to the girl’s boyfriend, with truly awful things said about the girl. My son was exonerated, because the actual caller came forward and admitted to making the call. In spite of the admission by the other person, my son was not allowed to travel to his lacrosse team’s participation in the National Championship, because the female Vice-president of the College had an agenda and was going to make an example of my son, even though he was innocent.

    Just something for us to ponder, because men are very reluctant to admit being victims. They may need healing also.

    • Steve, you articulately describe a personal and critical perspective we need to keep in mind: sometimes men are the victims of false claims, and even abuse. Honestly, I have very little personal experience with this, but I can say a woman made false claims to her church elders against me several years ago. I think more often than not, I reflexively want to stand up to help protect women when they are clearly being harmed by a man. I, and many men, want to “get in the way” verbally or physically. And we should. However, your words are an important reminder that we also need to stand up for men, even when they are reluctant to admit being the subject of abuse.

      Good insights, Steve. Thank you.

  6. Craig,
    Watching the multi-pal personalities of Mrs Ford play out made me think of the man at the well in Mark 5. Legion, I believe was there name.
    Mrs Ford is in need of restoration, the kind only Jesus can give.

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