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.
My greatest joy in life is my family. I know, that sounds like the comment you’re supposed to make as a man and father. All I can say is I literally shake my head in wonder at the family I have: my wife Beryl; my daughter Barclay and son-in-law Vince, their four daughters, Bella, Brynn, Brooke and Blake; my son Alec, my son Conor and daughter-in-law Bonnie, and their daughter Gemma. Every one of them is a genuine gift. Beyond that, I have a calling that I live out through Peregrine Ministries. It is to help men: Understand their identity in Christ, Embrace their role as men, and Live out their God-given calling in life. Bottom line is I’m convinced men matter and I want to help them live life on purpose.