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Category: Politics

Real Lies
Let’s just imagine that Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court is confirmed. That is not a sure thing by any means, but what would that leave us with?

Well, for starters, we’d have a reality TV star at the very center of our justice system. And by “reality,” of course, I mean “fake.” The only genuine part of his testimony before the Judiciary Committee was his blubbering account of the anguish he and his family have undergone. As we know, however, tears are not necessarily a marker for unjust accusation. The guilty cry, too…most often when they realize that their own acts have brought them to ruin.

The rest of Kavanaugh’s emotional testimony was not so credible. His combativeness and outrage seemed calculated to me. You can witness that same kind of heartfelt emotion any time you tune into The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Some might say that misrepresenting your true feelings in this way is the worst kind of lying, but even if you don’t agree, Brett supplied plenty of plain old factual untruth— as well as a tightly woven pattern of evasiveness.

So let’s just say he lied, repeatedly. And while he was at it, he threw in some partisan conspiracy theories to muddy the waters. That undermined his credibility even further. That’s my opinion, anyway. Compare his twitchy, angry performance with Dr. Ford’s testimony. She was obviously truthful, both in her openness and in her story’s ring of truth. She withheld nothing, while he acted like someone who’d say anything to get that seat on the Supreme Court. Clarence Thomas did the same thing. Maybe he and Brett will end up sharing a locker at the High Court Gym.

Besides reality TV coming to the justice system, and the lying, and sexual assault, we’d have a judge who was willing to make a fool of himself on the world stage. He is now a truly pathetic figure. Does anyone really want to watch this show for the next 30 years?

There will no doubt be other real world plot twists in this bad TV show. Trust in the justice system will erode further. The same goes for faith in our legislative branch of government, even with Senator Flake’s public agonizing. The multiple political and cultural divisions among us will grow wider and deeper. Our democracy will be weakened.

While all this has been happening, however, there is something else going on. Have you noticed that there are a lot more angry women around than there used to be? I’m going to say, as as matter of fact, that there is more anger among women now than there has ever been. It’s everywhere: on TV, all over social media, and right there at the kitchen table.

What’s more, I don’t think it’s going away. No matter what the outcome of the Kavanaugh nomination, this anger will continue growing and solidifying and evolving. To call it the “MeToo” phenomenon doesn’t do it justice. It has the look of something very big in the making — a fundamental change in the chemistry of our society.

The hearing was a perfect window into how roles are assigned between the sexes. It was a caricature of the contrast in two styles — rage vs. accommodation — but I think the outlines of that caricature are in the throes of change. It will be a change for the better, is my guess, and it will be much more important than one seat — or two seats, or three — on the Supreme Court. No lie.
He Said, She Said, They Said
He said
She said
They said
Oh no!

If he’s
A creep
We must
Not know

We’re in
A rush
So please
Just go

(Besides
We guess
You are
A ho)

He said
She said
They said
Oh no!
'Wulf at the Door
From the very beginning, we thought the Trumpmonster would trip over its own missteps. But each time the monster said something or did something that would have immolated another politician, it was somehow able to pass through the firestorm untouched by the flames.

Its base, which holds the entire Republican Party in its grip, would only shrug at the monster’s behavior. “That’s why we like him. He says what he (and we) believes.” Never mind that what it believes is repellant and wrong.

As its campaign went on, there seemed to be a new outrage every week. And each time we expected that story would, at last, be the one that destroyed the creature. I don’t want to name all of those stories, nor enumerate each of the torrent of lies that spill from its puckered maw, nor count every revelation of its callous selfishness. I’m sick of it, and tired, and I have almost stopped hoping that people will finally wake up to the awfulness.

Pundits went broke predicting the demise of the creature, and each time I believed them because I wanted it to be true — and because it would have been true for anyone else. But on it went, a monster spewing and threatening and laying waste to the hard-won gains civilization had made. Finally, I stopped believing the pundits and dared to let despair creep into my thoughts.

Then came last week, and this time the story felt different. First came the op-ed piece in the Times written by someone on the inside of the White House. Then came Fear, Bob Woodward’s carefully researched book of presidential reporting. The monster itself did its part by dishonoring the 3000 dead lost to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Michael Cohen, the President’s longtime fixer, was now openly shopping his tales of Trump secrets. Kavanaugh was accused of attempted rape as a teen. And then, the big one: Manafort flipped.

Now, nothing will come of any of this immediately. Just as with all the other transgressions and unmaskings of the monster, no immediate price will be paid. Still, there seemed to be something different about this blitz of bad Trump news. I am trying not to be duped by hope again, but this time I cannot help but feel that a corner has been turned, and now we are beginning our long journey back to The Good.

It is the Manafort plea agreement that makes the most difference. Robert Mueller, as cold and relentless as the mythic hero Beowulf, has now made this bold thrust toward the underbelly of the Orange Grendel. The monster, alone with its TV in the White House, went uncharacteristically silent, and I could imagine it trembling at the prospect of his own inevitable undoing.

This Beowulf will not dispatch his Grendel with the swift certainty of his namesake, but I believe that the end for this monster will be just as remorseless and sure. Mueller and his retainer of implacable prosecutors are moving steadily and with great care toward their goal, and neither the monster nor anyone else knows when and where and how they will deliver justice.

So I have new hope, but I must wait. "The Wheels of Justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine,” the saying goes. I am content, even as the ugliness continues to worsen and our democracy becomes more strained, to look forward to that return to The Good — or at least to The Normal.

The truth will out as it always does, and we will go to work to repair the damage. The Orange Grendel will be nothing but a bad memory — and a dark reminder that it truly can happen here.
Mixed Messages
Bob Woodward says
I should be scared
But he might be
In error

Then Trumpster says
That it's all good
And that fills me
With terror
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon