Why is the Kavanaugh nomination tearing us apart?

Why is the Kavanaugh nomination tearing us apart? October 2, 2018

Yes, I know, the answer is, “because it’s exposing how evil the Other Side is.”

(Many) conservatives are convinced that the Left is engaged in a mission of destroying a perfectly upstanding man because of their determination to leave the Supreme Court seat open until after the midterms, or because, even if they accept that the GOP will choose who they wish, they have too much anger about the prospect of a conservative judge replacing “their” Kennedy.

(Many) liberals are convinced that the Right is pushing Kavanaugh through because of his partisan political views, and are wholly indifferent to sexual assault; they believe that conservatives consider it acceptable for men to attack women, at least if those men are wealthy, anyway.

This is not new; we’ve had these sorts of conflicts before.  But it seems that the volume has been turned up.  Everyone is angry at those who don’t fall in line with their own beliefs.  Ford defenders are furious that anyone should fail to stick up for her, defend her, believe her account without hesitation.  On Twitter, I’ve seen suggestions that any woman who is married to a man who supports Kavanaugh should divorce him.  I’ve seen demands that Kavanaugh should be impeached — that is, removed not just from the Supreme Court, but from his current position.  The venom goes beyond the cynical partisan games the GOP is claiming, though it seems to be fueled by a belief that Kavanaugh’s presumed intention to overturn Roe v. Wade itself serves as corroborating evidence that he is such a monstrous individual as to have attempted rape, exposed himself, and/or run a gang-rape gang as a high-schooler.  And his failure to confess these misdeeds is further proof of his crimes, because only a monster would be unrepentant.  Concern that Kavanaugh might be unjustly condemned is discarded because his private-school youth means that he’s undeserving of such a position anyway.

So what next?  How many angry partisans are there?  To what extent are the voices of a few magnified by twitter?  Where do we go from here?  I don’t have an answer.  Do you?


Image: V0050236 A fist-fight between Lord Brougham and Lord Melbourne as Pea
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images

A fist-fight between Lord Brougham and Lord Melbourne as Peachum and Lockit. Coloured lithograph by H.B. (John Doyle), 1837.
1837 By: John DoylePublished: 22 October 1836
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/


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