By David Berry: If you felt that the title of the post was a bit click-baity, you’d be right. But that’s show biz, baby!
But now that I have your attention for the next few minutes, I in fact am taking a hard right turn. Today’s post, is in fact, absent of punchlines. There’s no bluster. No self-aggrandizing attempts to put my viewpoints on a pedestal.
Instead, a confession. I fucked up yesterday; I allowed myself to get dragged into a self-righteous political battle with some close friends, over a group chat, and I crossed the line of civility. In that regard, I’ve fucked up a lot lately.
Christine Blasey Ford. Brett Kavanaugh. They were the centerpieces of what was an exceptionally contentious day in the U.S. Senate yesterday. And if my group text or social channels were any indication, contentiousness was hardly limited to the senate floor.
The stakes are high. Kavanaugh stands to be confirmed to a lifetime seat on the U.S. Supreme Court if he passes through an approval process. And so, if Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony is in fact true, and that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her, he is in fact guilty of two crimes that would seem to disqualify him from the post: 1. His sexual assault and forced removal of a woman’s agency over her own body, and 2. Lying repeatedly about it under oath.
For further context, and rather than have you guess, I do in fact have a point of view, or an argument that I made yesterday. If Ford is telling the truth, then every other argument being had about this case is irrelevant.
It doesn’t matter that she waited until the 11th hour to bring it up. It doesn’t matter that Senator Diane Feinstein held onto it for several months. It doesn’t matter that Kavanaugh’s name has been dragged through the mud. None of these things are even being discussed if Kavanaugh is innocent. End of story.
(And the truth is, this is an ongoing inquiry, a might-be investigation; no one knows for certain who is innocent, other than the two of them).
A friend of mine took an opposing viewpoint, and felt that Ford had an obligation to come forward with this information sooner. He argued that her testimony was being used primarily as a political ploy to tear down a man who otherwise had shown to have a spotless record in his career.
To that, I again repeated my refrain – none of that matters if he’s guilty. Maybe it would’ve been better for her to come forward sooner, and yes, maybe her testimony is being used for political power plays. The best way to avoid such a scenario is to not sexually assault someone, whether it’s Kavanaugh or anyone else.
These viewpoints had a good six hours to boil yesterday. And boil they did. That’s not to say that in the wake of my own anger that I’ve looked at my viewpoints differently.
But I attacked a close friend on a personal level for not seeing things my way, right as I believe I am. I questioned his intelligence, he questioned mine. I issued bold proclamations about the type of man that made him, for thinking the way he did.
And why is that a problem? It was done without an ounce of humanity. I was a prick. I was mean-spirited and borderline vicious. I have been friends with him since I was 9 years old (which, with the regrettable truths of math revealing our age, was 25 years ago).
And yet, an attorney and a professor, whose names I’d never heard until a few weeks ago, managed to supersede all of it. 25 years of friendship and I was reduced to the ranting behaviors of an 8 year old up past his bedtime, furious because he can’t watch more Scooby Doo cartoons.
I’m a self-proclaimed Democrat, though admittedly leaning moderate in my old age. But nonetheless, I wear the badge of ‘fighter for all’ by being a Blue voter. I believe the allegations of sexual assault victims should be taken seriously. I believe that those without a voice should be spoken for. And I believe that the inclusion of all viewpoints, in a society that is inclusive of mine, is a right for all.
And yet, in that last mantra, I have failed to practice what I preach. I have been inclusive of the viewpoints which match mine, and have been downright cruel in the face of those that don’t.
It’s not my obligation to agree with those who have opposing viewpoints. It is my obligation to treat them with the respect that I allege is critical to my own worldview. Democrats beat their chests and march in rallies and demand more from their politicians but rarely beg a quarter as much from themselves.
And I am as guilty as any of them. I don’t feel remorse for believing what I believe. But I do feel remorse for having allowed myself to thing that those viewpoints could supersede my obligation to show humanity, which is hardly an adequate word to show the love and affection I feel toward someone as close as a brother.
Yet, here I am. Professing my guilt. Acknowledging that I’m a hypocrite for thinking an openness to all viewpoints is achievable, when I can’t even disagree with an ounce of benevolence in a debate with a close friend.
I hope I’m better than this.