Oct 1, 2018
In front of the U.S. Senate, with millions watching from home, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford relived a vicious attack that clearly continues to traumatize her to this day. She described how her attackers “were drunkenly laughing during the attack. They seemed to be having a very good time.”
For millions of women watching, it could have been a story about themselves.
Her attacker, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, tried to dismiss the accusations as an “orchestrated political hit.” Echoing the infamous defense of racists, Kavanaugh said, “I’ve always had a lot of close female friends. I’m not talking about girlfriends. I’m talking about friends who were women.” Dripping with privilege, he acted outraged that someone would dare question him.
Kavanaugh is the abuser of the moment, but he is not alone, not by a long shot. He comes out of the same club of privileged men as Trump, and many more in the government. Kavanaugh’s high school, Georgetown Prep, costs $60,000 a year for boarding students. It was also the high school of Trump’s other Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch, as well as two current congressmen and the brother of Senator Lisa Murkowski. For many senators watching, this was like a family affair.
And these hearings have revealed once again that in this club, dehumanizing attitudes toward women, and toward anyone else not of “the elite,” run rampant. Kavanaugh himself was caught on video saying: “What happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep. That’s been a good thing for all of us.”
Then Kavanaugh went to Yale, where he joined the DKE fraternity – the same one that had been headed by George W. Bush. It was eventually banned from Yale after a video emerged of frat boys chanting, “No Means Yes! Yes Means Anal!”
This club of rich men doesn’t just have rotten attitudes in their personal lives. They are part of the elite political class that runs political life in this country. The Republicans may calculate that continuing to back Kavanaugh will help them retain control of the Senate. They even say it. That’s why even after Ford’s accusations, even after two more women came forward to accuse Kavanaugh, Trump and the leadership of the Republican Party continue to back his nomination. The Democrats – appealing to a different electoral base – on this issue appear different from the Republicans. But finally they are part of the same club that protects the interests of the ruling class.
In one way or another, all of them have accepted the government’s “right” to restrict women’s control over their own bodies. They have backed brutal policing of the black population. They have carried out imperialist wars around the world. They have proven over and over again that they are the enemies of working people.
Kavanaugh proved himself useful to this ruling class when, as George W. Bush’s White House lawyer, he wrote memos that gave a legal justification for torture. Then, under Obama, Judge Kavanaugh defended the NSA’s mass surveillance of every U.S. citizen’s e-mails, phone calls, and texts. Kavanaugh has proven himself to be an enemy of ordinary people, women and men, by the policies he has defended – just like the senators who will vote on his confirmation.
The Senate finally agreed to have the FBI launch a “limited” investigation after one Senator, Jeff Flake, was confronted by two women in an elevator, after he said he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh. One woman shouted at him: “You are telling all women that they don’t matter, that they should stay quiet....”
She is right. That is exactly what Kavanaugh, Trump, and the leaders of the Senate are saying. These hearings have pulled the mask off this country’s so-called democracy. They have shown exactly what the Senate and the Supreme Court really are.
But for millions of women, these hearings also touched a deep anger coming from everything that they have endured. No one knows when that anger can boil over – and when it does, what women can do, as part of a social movement to overturn the rule of the disgusting, privileged club that runs this country.