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The Sideline Observer

Sports and Culture Commentary

A Crucial Moment for Morality: the Implications of the Kavanaugh Trial

A country divided, with a small hearing room on Capitol Hill deciding its fate.

On Thursday, September 27th, Doctor Christine Blasey Ford delivered her gripping testimony regarding the sexual assault accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh, now with three sexual assault and harassment accusations, denies all guilt. With three accusations dating back to Kavanaugh’s high school and college years, each with their own reasonable speculation by critics, the country once again finds itself at a crossroads.

Following the rise of the #MeToo movement, it seems there have been significant steps made toward obtaining long-desired accountability for perpetrators of sexual violence. Of course, there has been opposition to such movement. The dissent being the concern of a perceived “witch hunt,” against men in positions of power, and the anonymity that is often present with such accusations.

Masses of the population — largely white men — are quick to question the legitimacy of anonymous sexual assault accusations. They refuse to acknowledge the hate and scrutiny accusers receive, forcing them to relive their horrible experience again and again. All of which exemplifies the toxic culture and lack of empathy that allows for misogyny and sexual violence to perpetuate.

If you cannot comprehend that the culture that allows sexual assault and objectification of women to perpetuate is still thriving, you’re showing no remorse for the one out of every six American women that have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.

But this time, anonymity is no longer the identity of sexual assault accusations. As the nation watched, Doctor Ford delivered her testimony saying that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her back when they were both in high school. Both from Bethesda, Maryland, Ford attended all-girls private school, Holton-Arms, and Kavanaugh attended all-boys school Georgetown Prep.

Kavanaugh’s experience during his time in Bethesda is largely different than the rest of the Maryland metropolitan suburb. Describing it as “city plagued by gun violence, gang violence and drug violence,” Bethesda is known for being extremely wealthy and liberal.

However, the perceived notion of widespread liberalness and acceptance is largely just a title. Predominantly white and affluent, Bethesda culture operates under a facade of liberality, as old-money heritage and elitism promotes misogyny, toxic masculinity and borderline affluenza. It comes as no surprise that Kavanaugh, a white privileged private school male from Bethesda, is engrained with such ignorance.

Unlike their Democratic counterparts, the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee — all men — ceded their right to question Ford about the sexual assault allegations to independent prosecutor Rachel Mitchell.

The Republicans never extended any praise and sympathy for Ford’s ability to take a stand center-stage. Cryptically, Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) took the time to deliver a statement praising his committee for making significant efforts to ensure Ford her chance to be heard.

Mitchell questioned Ford regarding the details of the night as well as to see if she was at all urged by Democrats for political purposes. Ford delivered her confident testimony with poise that was not exhibited by Kavanaugh, as he blasted members of the Democratic Judiciary Committee and Senate for what he described as a partisan attempt to deter his career.

Whether it was frustration for being wrongly accused, or loathing for his own guilt, Kavanaugh delivered an emotionally and tearfully charged rebuttal to the committee.

Now, the nation remains more divided than ever. The case of Kavanaugh and Ford is #MeToo, feminism, toxic masculinity, the issues of sexual consent and Democrat vs. Republican all wrapped into a precedent-setting case that will leave its impact for decades.

Kavanaugh, if elected, will sway the Supreme Court conservative for years on, a serve a painful blow to the modern feminist era. If his nomination is struck down, a precedent will be set regarding the legitimacy of sexual assault allegations, no matter the time elapsed or cultural distrust of assault accusers, leaving many conservatives concerned of unfair play by Democratic and social politics.

Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak said it best: “Attempted rape isn’t boys will be boys. It’s criminals will be criminals.”

There is a difference between a well-intentioned romantic gesture that is not appreciated, and sexual assault. Let’s not kid ourselves. High schoolers and college kids drink. Sometimes they drink too much. Sometimes they make mistakes because they are drunk. But there is a fine line between accidents made when we are young and intoxicated, and sexual assault.

Sexual assault is no mistake, and to brush off Kavanaugh’s past, even if it was more than 30 years ago, is holding America’s officials — a supreme court justice nonetheless — to a low standard that we should not accept as morally responsible people.

How can we afford to elect someone to the court that requires the highest regard of morality, that clearly is so far from the pinnacle of honor and decency?

On Friday, the committee decided to delay the floor vote on Kavanaugh for one week to allow for a FBI investigation into the matter. It appears the already on-edge nation will have to wait a few more days until a decision is made.

-Mason Robinson

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