Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Professor And The Judge

In the fast-moving matter of Christine Blasey Ford v. Brett Kavanaugh in the courtroom of public opinion … For the benefit of our exhausted, battered country, may I suggest that it would behoove us all to inhale a deep breath, take a big step back, and all get down off of our respective soap boxes on the opinionated sidelines of this divide. Our knee-jerk instinct is either: pronouncing Judge Kavanaugh guilty of being a dangerously evil predator rapist while proclaiming the sainthood of Professor Ford’s timely story; or conversely affirming Judge Kavanaugh to be a pillar of model character while judging Professor Ford to be a seeker of headline publicity regarding a decades-old fabricated story. Neither premature opinion is helpful to anyone.

Currently, we are all spectators and speculators to this controversy, at best. An objective and impartial investigation is clearly needed. It should be expeditiously effected, but without artificial time deadlines that would cast doubt on the perception of fairness, thereby tainting the Court for years to come. A responsive process is hopefully being set up, ideally with that rarest of things – bipartisan political support – guiding that effort non-politically (versus the painful Anita Hill / Clarence Thomas politicized confrontation of 1991). We need to give such a process a chance to work, and let the details of these conflicting stories be sorted out one step at a time, without prejudice. And then we can draw our conclusions when and as appropriate, such conclusions likely to be difficult to come by. That is (or used to be) the American Way.

And to the men seeking to engage in this conversation, I urge particular caution. In my blog essay “Perspective on Sexual Assault” (“” dated 10/15/2016), I talked about how we males have minimal comprehension or comparative insight on this topic as it lives endlessly in a woman’s world. Few of us ever experience a sexual assault; few carry the lifetime wounds, isolation and powerlessness that arise from such events; few have to continually live within necessary and forced boundaries of conduct for one’s physical and mental protection. So we would do better to avoid more stupid comments about what we would have done, or what any woman should have done, in such instances. These situations are barely on our radar, or life experience, for understanding.

It should come as no surprise that a process that started from a fully political basis should now be ending as a painfully political exercise.

©   2018   Randy Bell     


Anonymous said...

Yes, indeed!

Anonymous said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Yes, everyone has strong views on this, many more politically than justice oriented. I agree everyone needs to step back and take a few breaths.

As I see it, if Ford proves to be credible,(and having taken a lie detector test successfully is a strong indicator), then the greater crime now is Kavanaugh lying about it. I also realize it’s all too human to lie about something from the past which if brought to light would not only be an intense embarrassment but also destroy his chances of a gaining a position of prestige. So one must let the blow fall softly if it is to fall. And big platters of mercy need to be served up all around along with the main course of justice. Another three ring circus is not what the country needs right now.

Thanks for writing this piece. It’s desperately needed at a time the whole population seems to have gone half mad.

Anonymous said...

Well done, Randy.

Anonymous said...

I like this one because it supports my viewpoint. All around me people are making judgments and I keep saying, "We don't know all the facts. Let's wait and see."