It just so happens that while I was in what is normally the noisiest building on the planet because of blowing fans and spinning saw blades, yesterday, while a woman cried into a microphone, all was silent, while we accumulated enough material to build two large doors and a table. I listened just long enough to hear a woman step forward and weep about the hardship her life has been directed by, and the pain that has shaded some of the pathways of her mind.
She sounded believable. She sounded sincere.
And then the insects began to chatter in the background. Dung beetles with R’s next to their surnames; writhing maggots of the D variety; both species showed themselves equally complicit and willing to writhe around in the detritus of the past. Neither held regard for actual pain, but its value to make themselves stronger.
My trip through political entomology was interrupted by the need to create something by destroying it a little. So I set a sharp blade to all sides of the pieces of what was once an alder tree. I spent time making certain that what was once shaped by the wind blowing from this direction and that, twisting it as a beautiful green poem skyward measured to my standard and angled at perfect ninety degrees in all directions.
The commotion of creation died down a little later and I listened as a man came to his own defence. Too late to make a difference, I fear. The emotion and power poured out from his heart was the heartbreak of what was done in a fortnight to a reputation he spend decades building. The anger poured out was for the witness it created for the children he has raised to be good people and the wife he swore with a golden ring to honor and protect. The tears he shed were for the innocence lost by his daughter, who bravely sought a way to appeal to heaven for justice to be done.
There was none available to her father that day, nor will there be.
I heard the shame he carries that has been planted on the name given to him by his own father. Upon mention of that patriarch, he broke and seemed to quiver his voice in strange places. But it takes a man who wants to honor his father to know when a man has been defeated in that pursuit. He prided himself on taking after his father’s legacy and seeking to better it. And there he sat. Without a court having ruled in his favor or against it. Without anything but the word of a broken woman. Without the due process he sought to protect through his career.
When I was ten, I took a road trip with family friends and they listened until it was obvious that my ears and those of my sister ought not hear the graphic description of what was done to a very similar moment played out for the American people. I will tell you, I cannot look at Clarence Thomas without seeing a dirty old man who abuses copy machines. This man is a Supreme Court justice. And his reputation has been ruined throughout my entire life in my mind. And again in this instance, there was nothing proven against him.
Doesn’t mean he didn’t do it.
The lack of justice for Brett Kavanaugh does not mean that he is innocent.
But there is a word for taking punitive measures against people who cannot be convicted in a court of law. It’s a highly fantasized idea within the comic book story of the Punisher. It’s the Count of Monte Cristo, and V for Vendetta.
It is vigilantism.
But the most honest look at bending the law to satisfy our desire for justice outside of justice is the Dark Knight trilogy. Within that context, understand that if we set a standard for “you should be punished because I know you did it,” then that standard becomes a tool in the hands of everyone.
And not a single one of us is innocent.
Not a single one of us is absolutely good.
So when does it become your turn? When is it your turn to anger the mob and make people rise up against your crimes? When do the people come after your reputation like a hungry hyena, seeking to have someone else destroy it so they can lick up the entrails.
But I’m different. And you’re different. We haven’t done that. Right?
The insects who desire empowerment and feeding off of the carcass of the life of well intentioned people do not care who they destroy. They only care to feed.
I do not know if Judge Kavanaugh did what he was accused of. I do not have evidence, nor a court verdict. Nor will I ever.
I do not know if Dr Ford legitimately experienced what she claims. I do not have evidence entered into a court trial. Nor will I ever.
What I have hard evidence of is people with the empowerment of the electorate of the most powerful nation in the world sliming the lives of two people. They took turns honoring one and vilifying another. They turned the worst moment of their lives into capital to spend on their election campaigns and that of their preferred colleagues. They do not give a rip about either one of these people, but the empowerment that they represent. Both Judge Kavanaugh and Dr Ford sound like good people.
She sounded hurt, scared, and brave.
He sounded resolute, empowered, and protective.
If you fall for the talking points that either one of them in their vocal patterns were insincere or unjustifiably angry, you need to check your humanity and retrieve it from the partisans who are trying to play you for empowerment themselves.
This is a mess and there is no easy solution. If the exact thing that happened to Dr Ford is exactly what she said, there is no justice that our people can offer her. Kavanaugh’s career on a silver plate is not justice. If Kavanaugh is innocent, there is no justice available to him from our people. Only to God, then, can we turn for justice. He is the creator of all true justice. One way or the other, He will settle the balance when all is said and done.
In the meantime, let us stop participating in what America is becoming: a three ring circus with pain as the main attraction.
I recently attended a concert featuring a man who has made a name for himself by adopting several social justice tropes into his music enough to get paid by them. I was outside of the event in support of it, not really supporting him but working. People in attendance took me for a supporter because I was there and they treated me kindly. They spent their money on this or that and hurried about trying to capture the moment he created for them. After his first song, he derided the audience for recording his performance, telling them you don’t record church, why would you record this. He was there to give everyone an experience.
Then he began to sing an angry and ironic song about America. Half way through performing his song, he led the audience in a chant. “G– D—.” They repeated it over and over. And then the music just sort of stopped. Outside we didn’t really know what was going on. And then people started leaving the stadium.
Some ranted angrily that they paid good money for a concert that didn’t last an hour. Others just walked dejected toward the door. Some stopped to spend last minute money, seeking to extend their unrecorded experience just a little longer. It turns out the performer, in the middle of his ugly chanting broke his foot and had to stop performing.
This is America.
We have potential, but we have to say not to enjoying the pain of others, especially if they have harmed us. We have greatness loaded, but we have to reject the insects who seek to allow us to be destroyed enough so that they may feast.
We have to stop letting ourselves divide between tribal lines.
At this point, I don’t care what happens to Kavanaugh’s nomination, nor the person to follow him. I don’t care what the FBI says, nor do I care about what the result will be in November. I’m still going to vote.
What I do care for is that people who I love and those I don’t know holding ourselves to a standard that all people receive dignity, that their opinions are heard, and if they are ugly, tolerated.
Justice belongs to the court. Justice will ultimately be settled by God. Let us not seek to usurp either of those authorities.
Our children are watching.
Categories: Dear Us,