Today’s Campaign Update – Mid-day Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
[I received an email from a long-time friend this morning containing the text below. If you don’t think many, many women are angered by the Democrats’ shameless, depraved assault on Judge Brett Kavanaugh, you might want to think again after reading this.]
I stopped in to a local Chinese restaurant yesterday evening to grab an early dinner. I had been running some late afternoon errands after a busy day of work calls, and my husband was out of town. I was looking forward to a quiet, easy dinner alone with my iPhone, catching up on the news of the day.
A guy close to my age (mid-50s) came in with an older gentleman. I couldn’t tell if it was his father, an elderly uncle, or perhaps a neighbor, but it was clear that this man was kindly taking this older man out for dinner and some conversation, which I thought seemed like a lovely thing to do. The restaurant was busy but not too crowded, and people at the tables around me were having quiet conversations, none of which were loud or disruptive. It seemed like everyone was, like I was, just interested in a quiet and relaxing Tuesday evening dinner.
Until this man says to his older friend, loudly, “Well! It’s certainly going to be an interesting week of news with all of this Kavanaugh stuff!” Now, I’m not sure if he was speaking so loudly because the older man had a hearing problem, or whether he could barely contain his smug glee, but loud it was, impossible to ignore.
The older man said he didn’t know what the guy was talking about. “Wow, I guess you haven’t been paying attention to your old favorite, Fox News. There is a lot going on and I think the Democrats really have the Republicans on the ropes with this guy. What a terrible pick!”
The older man leaned in and wanted to know more.
“Well, it seems like this guy Kavanaugh was a real party animal in high school and college. Lots of excessive drinking. All of his classmates are coming forward and saying that he was a real wild man. Last week, a girl he knew in high school came forward. Apparently Kavanaugh jumped on top of her at a party, grabbed her boob, and put his hand over her mouth and said he was going to kill her if she didn’t let him have sex with her! Can you believe it???”
My blood pressure started to rise. I felt like I was going through a decision tree in my head, if I do this, then this. Or if I do this other thing, then this will happen. Or maybe I should just let it go. That’s where I had landed, until the guy, chortling gleefully, continued.
“THEN another woman, this time from college, has come forward and says that he was the leader of a rape gang! And his college roommate is saying that it’s all true! Can you believe it? So the other night Kavanaugh goes on TV with his wife, and tells Fox that none of this stuff could have ever happened, because he was a virgin in high school and well into his college years. Can you imagine? What a ridiculous story!” He was almost at a guffaw now. “This is going to absolutely KILL the Republicans once and for all. They are probably going to railroad him in there, but I don’t think the Republicans will ever get another woman to vote for them again.”
The older man seemed horrified. He said, “really, there is more than one person saying this? One in high school and then another in college?” “Yep!” his friend replied, with the same excited gleeful tone that I get when I talk about, say, really good homemade flour tortillas or salted caramel chocolate sauce. “Well, then, if there’s more than one it must be true,” the older man said, shaking his head rather woefully.
I was wrapping up my dinner and they were just getting started. I wanted to say something, but fresh from watching the footage of the raging mob attack Ted Cruz and his wife at a restaurant the night before, I thought better of it. Instead, I took my receipt and wrote the following note on the back:
“I have been assaulted once and subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace for most of my career.I persevered. And, to this day, I remember every detail of each instance and I would need ZERO time to prepare of gather courage to tell my story. You will be SHOCKED if you think that “all women” will vote as a monolith. We are furious. As a victim. As a woman. As a wife, a mother, and a sister. I DETEST what is being done to this man. You should, too. I think I recognize you. That’s all it takes, right?”
I then turned it over and said “I thought about shrieking this at you and making a scene, like they did to Cruz last night. But we are better than that. We just vote.”
I took it to my server, a young woman in her twenties. I asked if she would take it to this man after I walked out of the restaurant. She read it over, smiling and nodding (which surprised me.) She looked up after reading it and gave me a high five, and said “Yes, I sure will. Have a good evening. And thank you.”
Where we get our news matters. This man was so clearly in a bubble of one-sided accounts and like-minded people. It never dawned on him that anyone who might overhear the conversation would be offended, much less that they wouldn’t see things exactly the same way he did or know the same “facts” he did. There was not one iota of “what if these allegations aren’t true?”
And then I came home and looked up when early voting starts, just to make sure. I shared a photo of my note with several female friends, on both sides of the aisle, so to speak. The feedback was uniformly positive. This whole debacle has been demeaning to women, particularly to women who have lived through the evolution of women’s’ opportunities and roles in the workplace. It feels like we have taken all the real progress made over the past 40 years all the way back to the stone age.
But, more important than that, we are women who love the men in our lives. We can see how ominous this kind of mob rule in the public square, where an allegation is enough to sink a ship, actually is. I pray that the Republicans stand strong and vote to confirm this man.
And then, we need rise up and demand that the consequences for anyone making false sexual assault accusations, or any person or entity who is complicit in the perpetuation of them, are so brutal that we never allow this sort of thing to happen to any innocent American man ever again.
That is all.
Follow me on Twitter at @GDBlackmon
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