An Unforgiving Polity

Politics, not facts, shaped the hearings of Brett Kavanaugh
October 9, 2018 Updated: October 9, 2018

In the bizarre lion’s den atmosphere of the Kavanaugh hearings, the full human meaning of partisan politics at the present time has never seemed so clear—we have witnessed what happens when a Christian understanding of justice and mercy no longer guides our leaders.

Every human soul is a mix of good and evil, and if you want to see the result when good no longer tempers evil with the spirit of repentance and forgiveness, look at the faces of the protesters outside the U.S. Capitol.

Listen to the malicious thrill in the words spoken and written by left-wing reporters covering the event. They are indignant, many enraged.  

If Justice Bret Kavanaugh’s accusers were right, he would be a demon.

Every woman who’s been grabbed and groped, cornered and violated, identifies with them. That means identifying Kavanaugh with their abusers. For Kavanaugh to succeed, to fly through U.S. Senate hearings and take his place in the highest judicial body in the land, is to make them re-experience the sadistic power of their assailants and their own panic and powerlessness, too. He’s going to get away with it—again!  It’s intolerable.

You can almost sympathize with the long-frustrated joy they take in having a target. Of course, though, a big assumption underlies the present fury. I don’t mean the assumption of Kavanaugh’s guilt. Certainly, that’s the primary injustice of the proceedings, as any impartial examination of Christine Blasey Ford’s claims shows.  

Assumed Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Her testimony doesn’t provide enough evidence for an investigation to proceed. However, guilty-until-proven-innocent holds in the current dispensation of male guilt.

There is another assumption, however—that is, that an event in a man’s life decades before, when he was a teen, are relevant to present questions of his character and fitness.

If a guy acted like a drunken sexist lout when he was a high school senior, does that reflect on his qualifications three-and-a-half decades later?

Jeffrey Toobin thinks so: “You know what? If you sexually assault someone in high school, your life should be ruined; your life should be pursued.” Got that? No forgiveness, no recovery, no redemption. It doesn’t matter that a man has compiled a 30-year record of fairness, chastity, respect and even-handed treatment of men and women, not in the eyes of progressives bent on righting historical wrongs— or just virtue-signaling.

What a blundering and narrow human vision. It doesn’t even understand the character of the accused. Any guy who acted like a jerk in his adolescence, sometimes a dangerous one, and who then spends his long adult life as an upright, charitable, decent fellow is a penitent. He allegedly did wrong when was young, and he’s done right ever since.

A Christian knows the moral meaning of that story. He forgives. If the victim herself is a Christian, but has a hard time forgiving him, she has a moral obligation to allow him to show her his penitence before she takes her revenge. Give him a chance to apologize, to ask you how he can make amends. Why not write him a letter and remind him of what he did? Or, confront him directly, demand an apology, and see how he reacts?

I imagine that course of action only irritates many people, as if it were just another way of rationalizing a man’s misdeeds and asking woman to accept it.  

However, a Christian takes that confrontation much more seriously than that. It’s not just an “Oh, yeah, I’m sorry, let’s move on” kind of thing. To ask someone who has victimized you to apologize is to make him face his sin and confess it to you, to others and to God—and to do penance.

The political climate of the present doesn’t admit that kind of sorrow and confession. The war is on. Inside the Beltway, people are weapons, not souls. They don’t work matters out among themselves. They get lawyers, they plot strategy, they make their move.

Process a ‘National Disgrace’

As the process has been delayed, complicated, extended, discussed, rehearsed and dramatized, the American people have only grown more disgusted and estranged.

“The voters agree that the process has been a national disgrace,” says the co-director of a recent Harvard/Harris poll.

Democracy assumes broad and steady attention to and participation in civic affairs on the part of the citizenry, but few people want to get in the middle of this one, not when judgment is so righteous and forgiveness so absent.

The spectacle of Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) sententiously calling on Kavanaugh himself to stop the process and demand an investigation was hard to stomach. The best cure, however, is to open the Gospels to any chapter and verse and start reading.

Mark Bauerlein is a professor of English at Emory College. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Post, TLS, and Chronicle of Higher Education.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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