The sounds of their voices
Thursday September 06th 2018, 10:59 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

I picked up a cowl project that had been abandoned early on in the push to get the baby blanket done and sat down to watch the Kavanaugh hearings, a little yesterday, more so, today.

When he said he grew up “around here,” with drugs and gangs and so he professed empathy for gun violence victims, I went, wait…what? Turns out he grew up in Bethesda. So did I. Let me tell you, no, he did not grow up in a violent neighborhood, not by a very long, well, shot, and there are no bad neighborhoods in my hometown. Gary Hart, one-time presidential contender, lived in the neighborhood. So did Neil Armstrong for two years. Frank Lloyd Wright’s grandson, in a house his grandfather had designed for his dad. Stephen Colbert’s family was across the street and in the house next to that, (a little later) Steve Rosenberg, Ronald Reagan’s cancer surgeon, whose kids I used to babysit on Friday nights. I’m name-dropping shamelessly to make a point: the house my folks built way out in the woods in the middle of, at the time, nowhere, turned out to be a town where you wanted to live if you could.

But here’s where it got interesting: the split screen was gone by the late afternoon and one could only hear the Senators now. The camera did not pan to them. So I don’t know who it was, although I’m guessing Richard Blumenthal? But after all the speechifying and talking at Kavanaugh, here was the quiet, calm voice of what sounded like a father figure of a man talking *to* him.

About what it was like to stand in Sandy Hook Elementary. To see the pictures. To see what such a weapon does to a child’s body, and why there is no place for it in a civil society. To grieve those first-graders who would never get to grow up, to stand in that place with and for their parents. The speaker understood Kavanaugh’s idealistic take on the Second Amendment, but there was this real life side of things, too, and real consequences to people, people who mean everything to other people.

He spoke with the respect that he clearly hoped Kavanaugh would grab onto and live up to from this moment on.

It was a moment of clarity offered amidst the bombast. I was impressed.

Kavanaugh, for his part, after nearly three days of being challenged and judged, clearly had not expected this. The issue, yes. Presented in a way that could not be argued against because it was offered with understanding of his point of view at the same time, no.

That’s when he used his hometown as his “so I get it, I know,” which, I’m sorry, was so far out in left field that one could only shake one’s head.

His questioner gently continued along the same lines.

At the end, Sen. Grassley puffed about how great a man sat before us and how much he had satisfied the inquiries of these last two (he later said three–maybe someone slipped him a note) days.

With the camera only on Kavanaugh, there it was: his eyes darted hard to the side and back when Grassley called him a good man. His jaw twitched and his face clenched when told he was a great judge. It was clear: he didn’t believe it.

Whether that was imposter syndrome or the tell of an actual imposter, I guess we’ll have to find out one way or another. But he did not look comfortable in his own skin in that moment when the praises were the most effusive.

Only when–Blumenthal?–treated him with not fawning but actual respect even in disagreement, that, his body language and voice responded to in kind. It was the only time I’ve seen it in him.

2 Comments so far
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In the end, though, he knows he doesn’t need to really be “great” or “good”. His fraternity will usher him in, and he will do what he is there to do for his supporters.

Comment by Jayleen Hatmaker 09.07.18 @ 5:51 am

I try to stay (reasonably) current with what’s happening south of my border. It is hard for several reasons – I work full-time so don’t see day-time coverage, we don’t get the same coverage here (just spits and spots), I don’t know the players as well so I don’t fully grasp the whole picture.

But what I have seen and heard does not reassure me in any way about Kavanaugh. I heard today that a woman testified at the hearing about a young immigrant girl who was seeking an abortion (didn’t catch the whole reasoning, but I can imagine being 17, pregnant, in some kind of facility, etc.). Kavanaugh was one of a panel of 3 judges who put off decisions and said “11 more days”, kept stalling and stalling, not allowing her to leave the camp she was in to attend medical appointments. I did not hear the rest of the interview with the woman (who I believe is a lawyer and was the girl’s guardian or legal rep). But my guess is that the judgement came too late for this girl – which I imagine left her in a position no woman should have to endure.

And you can darn tooting bet that no man (were he able to be in that kind of situation) would have been left hanging till it was too late.

I know that not everyone agrees with abortion, but by golly I think there are exceptions that need to be dealt with swiftly and with greater compassion than appears to have been shown in this case.

Sorry, I’ll get off my soap-box now, but reading your post just brought everything boiling up in me tonight!

Then I found on-line the recording of Barack Obama’s speech at UOI today. And after listening to him I am going to find it very difficult to spend the day with my (Republican) sister tomorrow. Ask a blessing for patience on me please, I am pretty sure I will need it.

Chris S in Canada

Comment by Chris S 09.07.18 @ 8:15 pm

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