Hearing Impaired

We watched the Kavanaugh Hearing and listened. What did you hear? I felt sick watching and listening to Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony. She has been carrying this awful trauma for most of her life. Her bravery and authenticity were matched by her humble dignity and kindness. She was guileless. She may not have been aware of her impact. One need not have endured an assault like the one she did to have one’s heart open and also harden. Why do humans have to endure torture?

There is a particular heinousness to sexual assault, but any assault to anyone is horrific. Dr. Blasey Ford’s trembling, gentle voice resonated both excruciating pain and kindness.  Her education and professionalism were evidenced by her elucidating scientific explanation of how trauma and memory work and manifest, not by mentioning her resume. We heard her, and felt anguish.

Judge Kavanaugh bellowed and protested throughout his hearing. One can certainly feel compassion for a man who has prepared for years for the Supreme job, (or any job), and for having his name smeared in the media without evidence. He has a family too. He was irate and rude, and even in his contempt for the other party and whatever conspiracy he thinks is out to get him and cause pain to his family, I never heard him mention the pain caused to Dr. Blasey Ford’s family.

I heard a lot of yelling and overt disrespect to the senators whose job was to interview him. I heard talking points and bullying. I heard a familiar script. I heard anger and stoking distrust and fear. I listened for that which would make this nominee worthy of being a Supreme Court Justice. How could someone who throws a tantrum throughout the Hearing be able to listen with an open mind to Supreme cases? How could someone who begins by declaring a left wing conspiracy and a Democrat smear campaign, yelling with venom, be impartial?

Then there was the bizarre situation of the calm prosecutor hired by the Republican senators on the committee to question Dr. Blasey Ford, while Lindsey Graham let loose during the Kavanaugh half. It was mind boggling, and embarrassing for us as a country.

The Senate confirmation hearings have been akin to Kabuki Theater for decades, but this was beyond excruciating for Americans . We heard testimony and felt pain and outrage at what people (especially women) must endure, mostly in silence. When the silence is broken, the real victim is further victimized. The powerful male claiming to be a victim is quite a spectacle. The goal isn’t to tear down powerful (white) men. The goal is authenticity and accountability.  We heard personal pain and outrage by the witnesses, but watched a very impaired hearing. 

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling this reckoning with so much that is wrong with us, and how much unnecessary pain is inflicted. This week has been particularly difficult to be an American. It has been difficult to be a woman. I have such pain that isn’t my own story. I ache for all of us. The bully playbook is so obvious and works temporarily. It’s also obvious who listens and who can’t even hear. 

We deserve much better than the tone deaf politics and noise that have impaired all of us. 

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