Congratulations, Brett Kavanaugh's Confirmation Is A Victory For Both Sides—Here’s Why
If you haven’t already heard the news, Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed and sworn in to serve as a Justice on the Supreme Court. Of course, this news will resonate as a victory for most Republicans. Congratulations. But it is also, understandably infuriating to victims of sexual assault, to women, I would imagine to most Democrats (I’m sorry guys), and of course, to anyone who supports Christine Ford in her bravery, assuming her testimony was 100% true.
And then, of course, after feeling infuriated, you will feel defeated. But don’t. No matter what side you’re on, be empowered, and realize that your voice, especially if you have any kind of influence, does matter. Please don’t skim through this. It’s important. Understand it. Let it sink in. And if you agree with me, please share it.
1. The faces that brought this issue to life are Dr. Christine Ford and Brett Kavanaugh, but the voices that affected people across the globe are yours.
I’m not particularly interested in politics and I don’t like to identify with any party at the moment. I do have my own thoughts and beliefs on this matter, but as a journalist, I’d like to stay impartial, because I want both sides to hear me. I’ve been closely watching big names on the news (both CNN and FOX), on Twitter, on Instagram, on virtually every outlet possible express their thoughts on the matter. Depending on which side you’re on, you’ll only agree with some of them. But find out who you believe, whose words you agree with, follow them, communicate with them. They will listen to you.
2. If you want to understand Christine Ford’s side (or the Democratic party) here’s who to follow:
Amy Schumer, Whitney Cummings, Amanda De Cadenet, Kamala Harris, Kumail Nanjiani, Judd Apatow, Michael Avenatti, Laura Bassett, Jessica Kirson, Sarah Silverman, Lena Dunham, Kathy Griffin, Busy Philipps, Emily Ratajkowski, Barack Obama, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Aparna Nancherla, George Wallace, Alyssa Milano, Diane Feinstein, Natalie Portman, Liz Plank. (Please submit more names so we can add to this list as this article gains more traction).
3. If you want to understand Brett Kavanaugh’s side (or the Republican party), here’s who to follow:
Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Steve Daines, Jeff Flake, Andrew Cuomo, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, Susan Collins, John Barrasso, John Cornyn, John Thune, Roy Blunt, Cory Gardner, Mike Lee, Mike Crapo.
(Please submit more names so we can add to this list as this article gains more traction).
As someone who has interviewed and featured several victims of sexual assault throughout the years, I understand the frustration of everyone who believes Dr. Ford. I understand the woman in the elevator with Jeff Flake. I understand how painful it was for people to watch Donald Trump mock Christine Ford’s testimony. I understand how painful it is to have someone (whether he did or not) with sexual assault allegations against him appointed to a position of power. I understand the message it sends to men and women alike—that if a man does something bad, he can not only get away with it, but he can also gain power in spite of it. That if a woman comes forward, you will “hear” her but dismiss her, because the man is more important. That if a woman has been sexually assaulted, instead of feeling heard, she will be shamed and blamed if she comes forward. That instead of coming forward with her words and her story, a woman should be silenced. That her silence will be more respected than her words, her story, her fucking testimony. To many women, this confirmation means: “shut up. You won’t win.”
And as someone with strong ties to a community that is very, very Republican (and for the most part pro-Trump, pro-Kavanaugh), I understand that side too. I believe Christine Ford, but for argument’s sake, let’s look at why they don’t. The argument I hear from the Republican side is: what if she’s lying? If Brett Kavanaugh didn’t get confirmed, that sends the message that any woman can come forward at any time with an allegation against a man, and ruin his job, his life, his career, and ultimately his power. It will ruin his name, his reputation, and his family (but mostly, his power). I understand Brett Kavanaugh’s tears and his words. Whether they were products of actual empathy for Dr. Ford, or a complete and utter act to show the world that he is a human being with feelings who is really the victim here, I cannot tell you. (Please remember that if Christine Ford displayed any emotions similar to Kavanaugh’s, she would have been labeled as “hysterical,” but instead she was calm and collected because she had to be). I remember watching him talk about his daughters, and how they felt bad for Dr. Ford. That his 10-year-old daughter Liza said “we should pray for the woman.” If you don’t remember, please re-watch:
Observe that the moment Kavanaugh began talking about his daughter was the moment his voice began to shake—only when he mentioned his daughter, a girl, a soon-to-be woman, who I can only hope, won’t have to say #metoo one day. Because as of now, one out of every three women will.
If you’re a Republican, congratulations on your victory. You’ve made your point. Please continue to display your empathy for others going forward, as Brett Kavanaugh so briefly did for his daughter. Fight for women, be a voice for them, because from what it looks like, your efforts have only propelled other women to speak up. You will be hearing from many, many more of them. I promise you. If you want the other side to listen, if you want their respect, if you don’t want to feel the wrath and judgment of the other side, listen to their stories, allow their voices to be heard, and empathize with them. It is my personal opinion that because you were able to empathize with the tears of Brett Kavanaugh during his testimony, it helped him ultimately get confirmed. Please give the same respect and attention to the tears—and even the anger of women.
If you’re a Democrat who believes Christine Ford, this sucks, but don’t be discouraged. You’ve also won. The Supreme Court has some power, but not all the power. In fact, congratulations to you too. You’ve managed to end the careers of Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., and many others to come. Sure, Brett Kavanaugh has a seat on the Supreme Court, but I guarantee you, he won’t be welcome in Hollywood by many, many people. They’ll invite him on FOX news for now, but until he shows unwavering support for women, and even their reproductive rights, he will be shunned by everyone who supports women.
To quote Amy Schumer in a recent Instagram post, “I don’t feel angry. I feel excited and ready to fight. Change is coming. (And everyone telling me lose weight, you first.)”
Don’t be angry. Don’t be discouraged. Whatever side you’re on, just know that you’ve won, but the fight is not over. From now on, you will be heavily evaluated by your beliefs, by your words, by your stance on virtually every issue. May you choose your words and positions carefully, whatever you believe.
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This piece was written by Nicole Behnam, co-founder of Beyond Media.