Right now, I’m enraged.
And I'm looking at you, the powers that be.
This isn’t about somebody’s job interview anymore. This is goes much deeper.
This is about the integrity of our political, societal and cultural systems. This is about who we want to be.
This is about deciding what messages we, especially as women (but men as well), are going to accept, what vision we want of our world, and what we are willing to stand up for in life.
The message that has just been sent out to us is this:
If we (survivors) choose to come forward, we must prove beyond reasonable doubt that we deserve an investigation.
This is different from ‘prove beyond a reasonable doubt' the accused is guilty and should therefore be punished.
We must prove we are worthy of being believed (and must go through hell to do so).
Dr. Ford courageously came forth with very little to gain and a lot to lose because she believed those who served the highest court in the country should be held to a high moral and ethical standard.
And, right now anyway, her sacrifice appears to have been for naught.
You ask, “Why didn’t she come forward earlier?”
An honest question if you've never been attacked.
When we are attacked, it is usually only us and our attacker(s) and:
Dr. Ford knew all this and still came forward.
Still, you say, "But where's the evidence?"
Truth is, you don’t want to see the evidence. In Dr. Ford's case, there was enough to make her extremely credible:
(I may have missed some others.)
I admit, there are no slam dunks. But there is a pattern. Yet, you say there was no evidence, or at least not enough to follow up with an investigation?
What more do you need?
What kind of evidence you are looking for? Semen and DNA? To justify simply opening an investigation?
[Note: an FBI investigation is now being opened because at least one person was willing to stand up for due process. I have hope.]
So the next message to us is this: unless we have physical evidence, don’t bother, because we will ridicule you, while saying how terrible it is you are wrecking a good man's life.
Basically, you're saying it is okay for you to bully and terrify and attack us. As long as you don’t leave any physical evidence and none of your buddies throw you under the bus, you’ll get away with it. As long as it’s "he said/she said", you’re safe. You will get the benefit of the doubt.
The truth is this has been the behind-closed-doors, accepted behaviour for years and you don't want to give up your get-out-of-jail-free card, so you promote the members of the same club, and the ones who don't toe the line get ousted. Those that toe the party line are either complicit in some way or cowards trying to save their own skin (this includes men and women).
So we must claw, scrape and fight to escape an assault, or succumb, and perhaps in either case end up with the physical evidence that will justify an investigation and hope we don’t get maimed or killed in the process.
Now, I understand that 30 years later, there may not be enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, but surely, based on the evidence, you must think there is a possibility that Dr. Ford is telling the truth? And a reasonable look into it is not too much to ask?
Yes, people can change. I know, I know...you don’t want to ruin HIS life because he’s been such a good man since those party days. (Hers on the other hand...)
After all, this is a just job interview, not a trial, right?
So let’s look at that. I'm sure he's ticked all the right boxes and has the qualifications. So let's look at who the man is today, and is he worthy of a position of power?
What I would hope to see, at least, for someone being considered for the highest court in the land, is a wise man, a balanced man in a difficult situation, who could articulate both his own pain and that of Dr. Ford.
And you believe he's a great choice. Let’s look at the evidence:
What I saw was an angry, petulant, bitter, uncomfortable and combative man with a narrow viewpoint looking like he was trying very hard to keep his past buried.
Yes, I do recognize none of these are home runs on their own and individually wouldn't necessarily exempt someone from consideration. But taken as a whole, there is a pattern—again.
Enough to warrant an investigation into the allegations of impropriety.
Remember, this is a job interview for an objective person of the highest integrity. He is not 'owed' this job. Like any of us applying for a job, we must convince the employer we are worthy of the job.
And I don’t understand how these behaviours, again taken as a whole, make him the best and most eminently qualified man to make objective decisions on the most important issues of the day?
After that display, how can he possibly make impartial decisions about women’s rights and unethical behaviour in politics, and be on the Supreme Court where the entire rule of law is based on the trust in that system?
He might know the law but, right now, I don't trust his integrity.
But, true to form, you came to his defense using your usual tactics, some of the same tactics you use to keep us quiet after an assault, bullying us, throwing a raging fit, threatening us, trying to terrify us to back off and keep us quiet, or dismiss us with the fallback “good ol’ boys” or “locker room talk” excuses or "high school shouldn't count" or redirect with your fury and outrage that his life is being ruined. Wrong. He missed an opportunity to showcase himself under pressure. He did it to himself with his emotional, partisan testimony.
Could the whole mess have been handled better? I'm sure it could've. Does he have a right to be angry at the way it was handled? Maybe. Did he show the temperament of a man who should be on the highest court, trusted by all to be impartial? No.
Why are you willing to take the chance to confirm this man to the highest court in the land? Do you see yourself in him? And are you afraid if you condemn him, you are condemning yourself? Is it something bigger?
Men, you aren't in danger, despite the rhetoric that every man is now a target. Honestly, we don't care if you drank a few too many beer here and there in college. We aren't out to get you. We like nice men. We want to work together with good men, decent men who respect us.
But we will stand up against the abuse of power. We will continue to tell our stories and protect each other.
There are still heroes. People willing to stand up for what's right.
I am so proud of Dr. Ford for speaking her truth with such class and am in awe of her courage in the face of the machine.
And proud of the women and men and organizations that have stepped forward in support of her and expressed concern at the impropriety of the process.
So, going forward, Dr. Ford won't stand alone. We must do what she has done, even if it’s in our own way in whatever area of our lives we can. We will be heroic and take risks and stand our ground in the face of fear and hopefully inspire others to stand with us. We must insist on our right to be respected and acknowledged and heard.
Above all, we MUST stick together with a vision toward something greater, where as whole, we can come together and use our different strengths to build, versus our different weaknesses to tear us apart.
This isn't just about women. It's about women and men standing up in the face of abusive power, in all it's forms and trying to make the world a better place.
We will go beyond surviving. We will stand up. We are powerful.
I stand with Dr. Ford. She's a true hero and a shining example of what we can be.