Judging Kavanaugh

Originally published at: https://integrallife.com/judging-kavanaugh/

Jeff shares his insights into the testimony presented to the Senate Judiciary Committee by both Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing him of attacking her as a teenager.

Since Jeff read a brief excerpt of something I sent him for this episode, I figure I would post the rest of my comments here:

I am not going to fault Kavanaugh for crying in his opening statement. When I was falsely accused of sexual assault in the mid 90s I was terrified and cried for hours, until she came to her senses a few hours later and admitted she was lying. So it’s entirely possible he is crying because he feels trapped and helpless, much as I remember feeling when all this happened. When I step into his perspective and fully suspend my disbelief, my heart breaks.

Or he could be crying for a different reason. It could be because of a different kind of heart-clenching terror, the kind that comes with seeing his chickens come home to roost, and watching his life’s accomplishments crumble around him because of a reprehensible violation he may have committed in his youth.

All that said, I do not find his opening defense compelling. He is lashing out at his accuser(s), at the left, and even at the Clintons, which I think is further revealing his partisan colors.

In the end, he is not fit for a seat on SCOTUS. Not because he is “guilty until proven innocent”. This is not a criminal hearing. This is a job interview. Which means that the question is not, “is he guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?” This is not the time or place to answer that. The question is, “is he QUALIFIED beyond a reasonable doubt to occupy a lifetime seat in the highest court in the land?”

No, he is not. Considering the number of accusers, the credibility of Ford’s testimony, the lack of a proper investigation, and especially the lack of transparency around Kavanaugh’s full professional history, there is far too much reasonable doubt around both his character and his qualifications.

I want a proper and thorough investigation. The American people deserve nothing less. The accusers deserve nothing less. Hell, Kavanaugh himself deserves nothing less, especially if he is innocent.


That’s a good evaluation on this very contentious issue, Corey. I just hope he becomes disqualified. If he does,
will he still be able to practice law? I prefer he wouldn’t but it seems a high price for him to pay to have his life entirely ruined for what he did. Does IT regard restorative justice as a better way to go than our present punitive justice system?

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That’s a great question regarding restorative justice and an Integral analysis on the matter would be fascinating. Tamler Sommer’s new book “Why Honor Matters” elucidates the importance of a restorative justice approach, and how restorative justice originated from red and amber societies, and found a resurgence in green, which is a needed addition to our currently sterile and value-neutral orange approaches.

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I’m reminding myself we have yet to hear any findings from the FBI’s short and short-circuited investigation; I don’t think Kavanaugh will get an “all clear” from that, but I’m not holding my breath that any findings of “wrong-doing” will change the outcome.

I basically think Kavanaugh took a page from Trump’s playbook–“it’s a witch hunt.” It’s worked for Trump, at least with his base supporters, so why shouldn’t it work for Kavanaugh? And by playing this card, Kavanaugh gave Trump the perfect opportunity to (of course) make it all about himself, how he has been so wronged by–what is it now? 18 women alleging inappropriate and usually unwanted sexual behavior? Trump painting himself as a victim, as a sympathetic character, is a new absurdity in the theater of the absurd. With Trump and Kavanaugh both claiming to be targets of a witch hunt, one has to wonder if they weren’t somehow in cahoots in fashioning Kavanaugh’s statements.

Which isn’t to say that a male isn’t sometimes falsely accused (and Corey, I am so sorry that that happened to you). But my sense is that neither Trump nor Kavanaugh is one of those males. While in the context of the #metoo and other related movements, there’s definitely a need for conversation around false accusations, that these particular men, and Trump’s son, would capitalize on that and be the ones leading that conversation over the public airwaves at this time is one of life’s little ironies, I suppose.

As for Kavanaugh’s tearfulness, I felt as much empathy for him as I did for Blasey-Ford in her tremulousness. No big deal; humans, men, judges cry, at least I hope they do occasionally. And now that Kavanaugh has broken the ice for men’s softer or sadder emotions in a public forum, maybe we can move on from that.

But I also had this thought, which Anita Hill voiced publicly the day after the Ford and Kavanaugh hearings. What if it had been a woman in Kavanaugh’s place, being as angry and belligerent and openly hostile and accusatory and partisan, and also constantly fighting back tears? How would she have been received in that committee? Would her lack of “judicial temperament” be excused away as is largely happening with Kavanaugh by many Republicans? And what would Mr. President have said about her? Megyn Kelly who dared to double-down on her tough questioning of Trump during the debates was scorned by Trump as having “blood coming out of her eyes, or her whatever.” Hillary Clinton has been barely able to raise her voice, or even an eyebrow for that matter, without being labeled a shrill bitch in some quarters. Methinks that that ‘whatever’ continues to be pretty troublesome for some red and amber males, in more ways than one.

It’s been a fascinating week for sure. I think the culture is working through really deep issues around power and sexuality. This isn’t just a male issue either. #metoo is about women’s power, how we feel exerting power. Fear about how we are perceived and received exerting power. This is also about freedom and boundaries around sexuality. We are all players here. When I shift states it actually gets exciting. Something very powerful is getting brought forward. Painfully, but in the end it will be cathartic, even if he gets the seat. I think the hold orange power structures have are starting to give way to deeper individuated power structures. In the end I believe governmental power is will be transcended and included into a great sense of self power. He wins, but the process will weaken, for the good, the power of the institution.

One thing that’s interesting is the way the Clinton’s keep being brought into this. Apparently Bill raped women too, yet, during his administration I don’t remember that ever being brought up. I remember the outrage was all around the infidelity. The Clintons were before the internet so I remember women being brought forward by these white men who were trying to “protect their virtue”. I was about the age of Monica at the time and I was offended. I was empowered and didn’t need these daddy figures to protect my virtue. I was defining that for myself. I never remember the word raped being used until the Trump/Hilary debates. The blue meme doesn’t see rape. They want to protect a woman’s virtue not discuss abuse of power. Women are protected, not by creating space for their empowerment, but by holding men to the rules.

Then there is Hilary. Classes will be taught about Hilary. I said after the election that Hilary would have won if she had divorced Bill. Why didn’t she? I don’t think there is an easy answer there, but power and sex dynamics are playing out in very complex ways. I hope one day she can reflect on that and share what she experienced.

I think sexuality is also playing out. I believe the cultural melt down actually started with the trans bathroom issue. The boundaries around gender/sexuality broke down very fast. It’s interesting watching it in my community and in my family. I never remember questioning by gender. It never occurred to me. All these kids are now doing it. My very boy crazy, butterfly loving, fairy like prancing daughter is convinced she is a bit of a boy. All my friends kids are doing this. None of us really know what it is. It’s ok, no one is bothered by it, but we are confused and interested because this is not something we remember experiencing. It seems to intensify during puberty. She was interested in gender at a younger age, but now she is insistent on it.

These young kids are working through something. My guess is they perceive male/female power differentials and they want both! My daughter is very aware of the feminine power to seduce. She is also aware of the masculine power to overpower. I have no idea where this is going, but these kids are different. I believe that we are not born the same generationally. They come into this world with a different Karma. I am very excited about what I am seeing with this “gen-z” group. They are 2nd tier pre-wired! All is good

Like everyone else, I’ve been devouring the Kavanaugh hearings and fallout. And I came to the conclusion that he should not be confirmed because of temperament issues (and the nearly continuous lying).

But, hey, this is an Integral site and we should indulge alternative perspectives right? So, I dove into National Review and every conservative site I could find to activate my conservative side (shadow?). Tried to put myself in an altered state where I really, deeply wanted Kavanaugh confirmed despite knowing that he was a liar and had temperament issues.

To that end:

  1. We all drank too much in college and god knows what happened in some of those parties since I can’t remember nuttin’. Can’t fault Kavanaugh alone for that.
  2. More investigations are exactly the wrong thing to do. The early '80s were utterly crazy and hyper-sexualized (this was before AIDS remember?) and there’s no telling what else may come up.
  3. The liberals have already won everything in the culture wars: abortion, gay marriage, eastern spirituality, total secularization of society, multi-culti, campus micro-aggressions, safe spaces, identity politics etc. Going conservative through the supreme court is actually a creative step forward.
  4. This will probably be our last (Pyrrhic?) victory. The last gasp of the old order. The DemocRATS are going to win the house in 2018, win the presidency in 2020, kick off climate change-based infrastructure development in the 2020s, reign in the corporations to ensure less inequality, have women in power and in leadership positions all over the place, ensure a level playing field where legacy counts for nothing, etc. etc. And on top of all this, more and more people are self identifying as “having no religion.” We are totally screwed.

I agree, @LaWanna ! My mom always brings up false accusations as soon as the topic of sexual assault arises, as if the fact that false accusations happen implies that sexual assault never happens (and especially not when the perpetrator doesn’t intend to assault and violate). I wonder if this eagerness to pretend that sexual assault doesn’t exist (or is extremely rare or always intended) is born from an attempt to deny or examine all of the times in which you personally have experienced it, but decided to deny the reality because it’s too painful to admit that your autonomy was violated or you gave up your power/autonomy in order to stay safe (I know quite a few women who have performed sexual acts they didn’t want in order to maintain their sense of safety… I’m sure this experience isn’t exclusive to women.).

I remember this being the primary concern, too. I don’t remember anyone actually talking about the power differential except to say that Monica was after Bill’s power, so she deserved to be shamed.

I remember similar messages surrounding the OJ Simpson trial. I know most of the messages at the time were about race, but I think both point to how perceived identity is used by institutions and the culture to determine the power one is allowed to possess or strive for.

It seems like the conversation now is about changing the longstanding rules for both how identity is determined (does the individual have a right to determine their identity for themselves [green], or is identity purely culturally determined [blue]?) and what amount of power is allotted to each identity (should we be distributing power equally?).

I honestly think the increased frequency of being flexible with gender is a result of being exposed to green meme as a kid, which gives you permission to explore yourself without having to fear or endure harsh punishment for breaking out of those roles. I think orange and green memes see gender as more flexible and fluid anyway, so the kids are probably picking up on that and using it as guidance for their self-expression and growth.

I grew up suffocated by blue meme (a little bit of orange) and I hated the power differential I was placed in. The roles assigned to me never fit for my personality (and possibly my neurology) and I had a huge learning curve in order to “fit in” or express my allowed power, at which I was never really successful. I never dared to experiment or recognize my sexuality because it was SO against the rules, but I chaffed and rebelled against my assigned gender even as a toddler. It was easier to suppress my sexuality than suppress my gender, at least when I was a child. Part of this has to do with the rigidity of roles in blue, as opposed to the increased flexibility of roles in orange and green.

There are still kiddos who are trying to enforce rigid blue memes on their peers though (“you’re a girl if you don’t have a penis!”), the difference is the potential for cultural belonging beyond the family, even for those kids enforcing the blue rules they learn at home.

Such interesting thoughts @Anand_Rangarajan!

There’s a meme that says if you drink “too much” (and especially if you black out), then you aren’t responsible for your actions. We use this meme to avoid courage, vulnerability, and accountability with social interactions, choosing instead to drink in order to have plausible deniability for our actions (whether they be authentic, socially encouraged, or impulsive).

If we’re being honest, most persons in a dominant position of power are probably guilty of abusing that power, especially during the periods of history where these behaviors were modeled and protected. It’s a part of growing up as a human (especially before 2nd tier). If you’re given more power than your developmental level, you’ll likely abuse it because you can’t see where the lines of abuse are.

These are both descriptors of fearing loss of power. I think the fear underlying this feared loss of power is fearing change, both personal and cultural. ‘If I give up this power, I’ll have to learn to trust others, grow beyond egocentricity, etc. and I don’t want to experience that discomfort or lose my sense of safety.’

Perhaps, if we were to explicitly and respectfully talk about safety for all identities (which means acknowledging the ways in which dominant identities fear losing their emotional and psychological safety, ie their privilege), it might change how the conversation is perceived at all levels.