Hot words for a steamy subject

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

A drama of he-said/she-said is playing out in the media right now, gearing up to its TV run to be held about a Supreme Court nominee in the presence of the U.S. Senate, we think on Thursday. The live play before us centers around a woman declaring sexual abuse and the accused declaring innocence; neither were adults at the time. There are a couple of themes – political in the broad sense, and in the particular, life-altering for one of the main characters. As plays go, none of us spectators know the ending. But as plays don’t usually go, none of the players do, either.

We are most eager. The drama is riveting much of the country, so it’s sure to be a hit, if not in a conclusion we can agree with, then at least in that we finally get to know the conclusion. Although the play is supposed to be televised, rumor surrounding the drama has been changing by the hour, so stay tuned for exact show time. Or maybe no time: the battle rages for which side gets the play they want.
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The denouement, the is-he-guilty-or-is-he-not ending of the play as it is being written, is up for grabs. One side wants the truth to be revealed; the other side thinks there’s enough truth out there, and no one, especially the audience, needs any more truth.

There is only one way to get close to the truth – a non-partisan, impartial investigation into both lives, that of the accuser as well as the accused. The investigators need to look at the period when the accusation took place; and for good measure, at the years since then.
The public also needs to know if we’re going to get a second accused sexual abuser on our most supreme of courts.

Why leave doubt about a person soon to take up such a supreme decision-making position? Why would the “judiciary” [relating to the administration of justice; as in ‘a judicial inquiry into allegations’] committee headed by Republican Senator Charles Grassley from Iowa – not to mention the accused himself — not want the nominee cleared to the truth of the deeds of his past?

His previously accused predecessor and possibly soon-to-be peer and companion on the most supreme bench, with accusations against him when he was a nominee in 1991, was able to slide onto the bench because the allegations were brushed aside by other men. Those men made him a “justice,” and he and his country have lived with a shadow of doubt over his head ever since, going on 30 years.

I am confused by the stonewalling of so many politically savvy men. It can’t be that they are worried about leaving a vacancy on the supreme bench. In 2016, they were willing to delay for the whole year without filling that vacancy, and since we can recall it readily, I guess it’s not that which keeps them from doing it again. Maybe because they think they got away with it once…?

Refusing to establish a thorough outside investigation indicates something else. Can’t they, the Senate, the nominee and the President, all who refuse it see that because of their total rush to elect without an investigation, many people think the accused candidate guilty? Why he himself doesn’t want a look-see into a past that could easily clear him is the most telling.

Another problem arising from the rush to judgeship by the Senate and the Administration needs to be addressed. Many women are weary of the accumulated and all-encompassing condescension of men in power. Women are just plain tired of how men think less of women than of men – all men, men who’ve been accused of something like our president, one of our supreme judges and one judge nominee; and men who haven’t been accused of anything — sexual, that is — like our senator.

It is clear that all these men are too uninformed or, sadly, too arrogant to be afraid of something else.

If our Senate, our Presidency, our Supreme Court can’t treat women with dignity and goodwill, can’t agree that women are equal to men, can’t promote equal pay for both genders, can’t allow women the time to tell their story when they say they’ve been hurt by a man, can’t think of their own daughters, wives, mothers and what those females must think of them…if these self-styled leaders can’t behave with any morality at all, they should be afraid. Afraid of something else.

Despite the adamant words of Brett Kavanaugh, despite the insolent words of Donald Trump, despite the lack of words from the majority of Republican senators, the demands of so many of the women of the country should carry some weight. Some. Day.

Perhaps that day will be in early November.

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