A Soft Answer Turneth Away Wrath—Proverbs 15:1
What if Brett Kavanaugh had said, “I watched Dr. Ford’s testimony this morning, and I was horrified by it. Compelling, agonizing, convincing. I can’t imagine a more repulsive or traumatic experience for any human being.
“I am equally horrified by the possibility that, as an inebriated teenager I actually was the person who did this to her. Because I did drink to excess in my younger days and probably do not actually recall everything that happened in the hours when I was really drunk, I cannot rule that out. She is 100% certain it was me. I cannot say that I am 100% certain that it might not have been me.
“If there is any chance whatsoever that she is right about what happened, then all I can say is that I will spend the rest of my life trying to make amends to her and any others who may have been injured by what I did when young and foolish and drinking to excess. I have spent the last thirty years of my adult life working hard to be a good person and to put my talents at the service of the public good. To some extent, I have been successful at that, which is why I have been honored with this nomination to continue my public service by taking a seat on the Supreme Court. I can tell you this: If ever I have the opportunity on the bench to strengthen the protection of women against the predations of men, you may be certain that this will be foremost among the amends I pledge. No one on the bench would ever have stronger motivation.”
We would be a profoundly different America this very troubled moment if he had done this, breathing free and eager to heal. And I choose to suspect that the Brett Kavanaugh who was so measured in his appearance on Fox News the night before his hysterical attack at the Senate Judiciary Committee might actually have taken this approach. But it is clear that he was given harsh marching orders following that too-civilized Fox appearance, ordering him to swing 180 degrees into a Trumpian mode of “attack, counterattack, accuse, and never ever admit the truth about possible wrongdoing”. Sadly, we have seen that Kavanaugh is fully compliant with any such orders to override his integrity, evident from his first appearance as Trump’s nominee when he made the obsequious and obviously ludicrous claim that Trump had vetted him more thoroughly than any President ever vetted any Supreme Court nominee before.
And so now everyone in the United States of America has become a loser: Kavanaugh, for a lifetime sentence on the bench tarnished as a lying, partisan, vindictive toady; the Supreme Court, for being defiled by his presence; American citizens, for our damaged trust in justice at the highest level; Kavanaugh’s family, for never experiencing the relief of a cleansing truth and the wave of understanding and forgiveness that Americans would have poured out on their husband and father and son. And, we citizens–his neighbors–once again, for being deprived of the opportunity to release ourselves, through that understanding and forgiveness, from the virulent hostility that flows between the camps of pro- and anti-Kavanaugh advocates.
President Trump’s astonishing 5,000+ documented lies from his own lips are relatively trivial—he is simply a congenital liar—in comparison with the gut-wrenching corruption he has evoked from those who chose to enter his gravitational field, quite possibly as once-honest persons. The requirement to lie on his behalf contorts them into objects of both public derision and personal self-loathing. We can more keenly grasp the damage caused by Trump’s dishonesty by looking one-at-a-time at a Sean Spicer or a Brett Kavanaugh.
To see one such single life shorn of its integrity and consigned to lifelong disgust and humiliation is to gain a more vivid understanding of Donald J. Trump’s effect on America. Not content to stop at self-proclaimed sexual assault, he has now perfected the art of moral rape of those at his disposal. Has there ever been a President—or any senior public official—so utterly calamitous to persons and a whole people?