#MeToo! vs. #ItWasn’tMe

The recent spectacle put on by the Senate Judiciary Committee proved to be gripping TV, even if it wasn’t much of a real hearing. Like most political hearings, it was used as an opportunity for the Grumpy Old Men who make up most of the Senate to host yet another good ole boys “let’s give a speech” show. It even provided yet another forum for airing out the old excuse, “boys will be boys”, which more than one Senator used by pointing out – “Good grief, we are talking about things that happened when he was in high school and college”.  Apparently, the kind of behavior that was alleged is OK with them if it occurred during that young phase of life. It’s possible that a close inspection of their own youthful behavior might produce similar accusations for some of them.

Now there is an argument that some also made that people change as they mature and that we should look at what they have done as adults, rather then into the deep past of their youth. That line of reasoning holds up a bit better when used against less serious youthful indiscretions, such as having to answer yes to the question, “Did you ever smoke pot?” or in this case, even the question about whether he ever getting really drunk.  It’s still not right, but there are some wrongs that might be attributed to youthful experimentation that the person has outgrown. Other offenses committed by the young are more difficult to forgive, because they may (as was pointed out in the hearing) point to more serious flaws in character. If one is being a bully or a thief when young, that points to a character flaw that may still lurk in the mind and cloud good judgement.

Being labeled a sexual predator really points to several character flaws – a sense of entitlement, lack of concern for others and devaluation of the victims. Having that frame of mind, while in a drunken stupor that removes the last constraint, the fear of the consequences of your actions; is what allows even the most model youth to become a sexual predator.  It would not give one comfort to face judgement from someone who starts the process in the frame of mind that – “I am better than you, I deserve to be here judging you, you are nothing to me, and I could care less what happens to you because of what I do.”

So, what are the Senators and we, the citizens, to do with what we saw and heard. They wavered enough to get the Tweeter-in-Chief to ask for a one week delay so that there could be an FBI investigation. That will likely prove to be a continuation of the Lose-Lose situation that we find ourselves in now. It does create a new hashtag – #WasHeThere. Kavanaugh has testified that he wasn’t even at the party, which several of his friends have corroborated; so, what happens if the FBI finds 1-2 people who say that they were also there and testify that he was there that night? What happens if they don’t? How about if more women come forward to the FBI with stories of inappropriate behavior during his youthful years in high school and college?

I don’t think there’s any way to see this as a win-win for anybody involved? Certainly not the two parties in the recent testimony; and not, I suspect, for many the good old boys sitting on the Senate Committee panel who have exposed themselves to critical public scrutiny and came out worse for it on both sides. Worst of all, not for the American people who don’t need another Justice sitting on the Supreme Court under a cloud of doubt about their moral character. We deserve better than that.

Maybe we need the hashtag #Let’sMoveOn.

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