The only thing anyone agreed on about the twin testimonies of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh on Thursday in Washington was that it was all utterly wrenching, heart-breaking and awful.
Ford, who alleged that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers in the early 1980s, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee first – and told of how she struggled with claustrophobia and anxiety since the incident more than three decades ago. How, since she came forward in The Washington Post 11 days ago, she has been forced into hiding, at times separated from her family and with security guards attending her at all times.
“I am terrified,” Ford said in her opening statement to the committee. And everything from her shortness of breath to her shaky voice attested to how incredibly difficult and painful recounting these memories of her alleged trauma were.
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Then came Kavanaugh. His pain manifested itself as anger. In his 45-minute opening statement, Kavanaugh savaged Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. He invoked the Clintons (and not in a positive way). He said that the accusations over the course of the past 11 days had made it likely he could never coach his daughters’ basketball team again. That he might never be able to teach at Harvard Law School again.
“This has destroyed my family and my good name,” Kavanaugh said. “This has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit.”
Ford teared up in telling her story. Kavanaugh broke down repeatedly during his opening statement.
And despite all of this emotion, all of this hurt, the reality looming over the proceedings was this basic fact: One of these two people was either not telling the truth or badly misrepresenting a moment that for both individuals has been or will be a fundamental moment in their lives.
The reality at the end of the hearing was the same as when it started: There is simply no reasonable expectation that any of the senators on the Judiciary Committee will be able, after today, to ascertain the capital “T” truth in this situation. And yet, those same 21 Senators – 11 Republicans, 10 Democrats – will almost assuredly be asked to vote in the not-too-distant future on whether Kavanaugh should be given a lifetime appointment to the most powerful court in the country. Then, if Kavanaugh makes it through that vote, 100 senators will decide who they believe – and Kavanaugh’s fate.
The Point: This is an impossible choice to make and to know you did the “right” thing. And no matter what is decided, the lives of two human beings – Ford and Kavanaugh – have already been changed forever. And not for the better.