#MeToo and the Kavanaugh Hearing

Nandin Ganjoloo, Opinion Columnist

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The morning of Sep. 27, 2018, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Like many others listening to the hearing, I was crying during Dr. Ford’s powerful opening statement. She did her best to fully answer every question and showed more grace and patience than anyone could have asked of her. Ford embodied what the #MeToo movement is all about. Talking about sexual assault is as necessary as it is difficult.

But as soon as her part was over and Kavanaugh was sworn in, my crying was fueled by a sense of frustration, anger and powerlessness. The GOP was disgustingly tactical during the entire hearing. They hired an outside female sex crimes prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, to question Ford, because 11 male Republicans would have caused a political disaster. However, when it was Kavanaugh’s turn, Mitchell was quickly silenced so that the GOP could turn the focus away from Ford.

Illustration by Abby Takahashi

That’s what was most infuriating during the whole process. The GOP listened to Ford, but they didn’t hear her. They just sat through it, waiting to have their partisan knife fight in the afternoon. The Republicans, like Senator Lindsey Graham, used their “questions” as an opportunity to praise Kavanaugh, accuse the Democrats of wrongdoing and completely ignore Ford.

“This is the most unethical sham,” said Graham.

Senator Graham might as well call his own party out for being unethical. He accused the Democrats of using Ford as a calculated political hit while carefully refraining from attacking Ford herself. Kavanaugh was attacking the committee for not giving him a hearing sooner while carefully not calling for a FBI investigation himself. Graham described the politics of the hearing as “the most despicable thing,” but in reality I’d see the GOP’s negligence and shameless partisan approach as such. We also can’t forget the Merrick Garland nomination. During the Obama administration, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the 11 Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee made it clear that any nomination to fill the Supreme Court vacancy by the sitting president would not be considered. I’m not sure how Graham thinks it was more ethical for the Republicans to politicize the Supreme Court in the first place.

Ignorance aside, let’s look at Kavanaugh’s glaring white privilege. On multiple occasions, Kavanaugh emphasized how he had worked so hard to get the position and that the Democrats are taking that away from him. Kavanaugh believes that he is entitled to a seat on the Supreme Court through “working his tail off” in school. If you are still confused as to why the Republican side went on angry rants, this is what happens if things don’t go in favor of white men who can’t see past their privilege.

During his angry rant, Senator Graham dared to say that Ford was “just as much of a victim as you [Kavanaugh] are.” Judge Kavanaugh’s “good name” was hurt, but Ford’s life has been turned upside down. This sexual assault survivor is risking everything performing her civic duty when she has nothing to gain. Comparing her experience to Kavanaugh’s reflects how little the GOP cares about the #MeToo movement or any voice other than their own.

This hearing was draining. I felt defeated. It’s hard keeping it together during times like these, but it’s important to still look at the good things that came out of this hearing.

“I am here not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school,” said Ford.

She inspired women to start telling their stories. She inspired those women who confronted Jeff Flake by the elevators the next morning. Each time you feel like there’s no hope, remember Ford. Her unbelievable courage and kindness. I want you to stay strong. I want to remind you that this was not a defeat. It may have felt like a loss, and that’s true. The system has failed us, but the power lies in individuals. The power lies in Ford. The power lies in you. Your stories matter. Your voices matter. You matter.

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