Thursday, September 27, 2018

“Instead of showing remorse and sympathy for the victims of his transgressions, [Kavanaugh] became righteous. Shameful. Dangerous”—Utz Mcknight

“Woke up too early in the morning thinking about the book I am writing, as we do. But my thoughts drifted to the Kavanaugh job interview for Supreme Court justice and how he was trying to make his case to a public that can't directly answer back.

“One thing struck me as dangerously disingenuous, the claim to virginity and the idea that he couldn't have desired to assault women because implicitly at the time he valued the sanctity of marriage and his own sexual innocence too highly.

“The idea that abstinence education and his own commitment as a young man to being a virgin would protect women by either absolving him of, or removing for him, the desire to have sex with women is not just wrong, but dangerous. I don't need to go into why this is so for those of you here.

“I want to be clear about this, however. That Kavanaugh referenced this aspect of his life as a defense against the claims of sexual assault means he is signaling his commitment to a very conservative far right evangelical politics regarding gender and sexuality.

“This isn't someone who thinks contraception should be available before marriage, or that health care employment benefits should include the cost of birth control. This is an interview for a job that would, however, have his ideas about sex, marriage, and women as important qualifiers for his suitability for the position. There is also the question of how he views his faith in relation to the law.

“I wonder how he perceives the women in his life, but everything he signaled in his interview is that he is just like Mike Pence. This isn't to criticize Kavanaugh as an individual, he can have whatever view of women, sexual intimacy, and health care provision he wants as a private citizen.

“But this is an interview for a job as Supreme Court Justice of the United States. Even if you agree with his views on faith and personal service, given that he was willing to make a case for his suitability for the position on the basis of a commitment to this conservative religion faith should give you pause and consider what the office of Supreme Court Justice requires.

“He is claiming that these values are the qualifications that we should consider when confirming him. He is offering up the claim that we should consider his attestation of the strength of his faith when young as proof that not only is he innocent, his word and values set against those of his accusers who are of course not in the room as he says this, but that he will faithfully continue to demonstrate these values and commitments when a Supreme Court Justice. These are the words of a politician and not those of a Supreme Court Justice.

“This is a job interview for public service as a Justice, not someone standing in front of the congregation in a church discussing their constancy and faith as a personal struggle. No matter your personal views and values, someone who is willing to claim—no argue—in public that his religious views make him the best candidate as a Justice isn't someone we should choose for the position.

“Not unless we want to change that part of the Constitution that states that we should have the freedom to choose our individual faith and religion. He is using his faith as a weapon, and thinks that to do so is not only appropriate with regard to claims made against him personally of sexual assault, but qualifying for the appointment to the highest Court in the land.

“I keep coming back this morning to the words of a student who was in my office years ago describing her survival as a victim of sexual assault when she was a first year student, ‘I was saving myself for marriage, and I woke up in this man's bed who I didn't know, and couldn't remember how I got there... How do I find out now my sense of who I want to be? He took that from me.’

“This man who was drinking and partying as a high school student, writing about sexual conquest in his yearbook, and continued partying as a college student, and no doubt also as a lawyer and judge, is lying and doing so in public on his faith. Instead of showing remorse and sympathy for the victims of his transgressions, he became righteous. Shameful. Dangerous”—Utz Mcknight. 

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