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The Ford-Kavanaugh hearing on Sept. 27 was one of the most dramatic days in recent American history. It featured pathos, chest beating, and heart wringing, elements of tragedy that Aristotle once described as “catharsis”—the purging or cleansing of emotion. Only, at the end, no one felt cleansed. It was a terrible day, all commentators agreed: terrible for our country, for justice, for honor, for due process, for common decency.
Both sides came to the same conclusion, even though each side had a completely different understanding of events. On the one hand, a woman whose voice and manner recalled the girl she was at 15. We see them now, those girls—some of us were those girls, with blooming bodies and immature minds, who played at sophistication but had little practical experience. Her story was believable because we know it happens: Inebriated boys have “taken advantage” (to use the old-fashioned term) of naïve girls at parties as long as there have been parties.
What about this boy? Under oath, with his wife beside him and a host of character witnesses behind him, he denied it. Emphatically, categorically—it didn’t happen. No one else can testify to the event, and the accuser’s memory seems oddly selective. Still, the accused passionately insisted he’s an innocent man condemned without a trial. We’ve seen that too: men exonerated by DNA evidence after years, even decades, behind bars.
But the accused is the embodiment of what we’ve come to call White Male Privilege: born, raised, schooled, and immersed in it. As such, he’s the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the patriarchy. “[W]hen people excuse sexual misconduct on the basis of intoxication and youth, it exposes the fact that our society values white males above all others,” wrote Jason Nichols at Think (an NBC News website). “He represents a culture that fundamentally does not believe women are equal, and that’s why he’s so dangerous,” insisted Ana Maria Archila, one of the women who cornered Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., in an elevator. The editors of America: The Jesuit Review withdrew their support of the judge, fearing it would send the wrong message “in a world that is finally starting to take reports of harassment, assault, and abuse seriously.”
One might argue that if Professor Ford’s accusation was taken seriously, it would have been dealt with much earlier in the process, instead of reserved for the time of maximum damage to Republicans. But we’ve gone beyond “One might argue.” Forget argument. We’re in the midst of something like a religious frenzy.
The new orthodoxy of the left, lumped under the heading of “Identity Politics,” is that human history is nothing more than a power struggle between oppressed races and genders, and white men have had the power long enough. It’s basically Old Marxism with race, gender, and sexual orientation substituting for social class. In its all-encompassing worldview, single-minded devotion, and inquisitor-like pronouncements, it’s beginning to resemble a cult.
Ana Maria Archila’s tearful elevator confrontation with Sen. Flake was just the beginning. “Divorce your Republican husbands!” tweeted feminist author Jill Filipovic on Sept. 28. “Who are the people who continue to perpetuate and uphold rape culture? Powerful men,” stormed feminist blogger Corinne Werder. To many on the left, the judge is an icon of evil. Their belief is utterly sincere; he can defend his good name until the day he dies without budging their conviction.
What if he’s guilty? The human heart, as we know, is deceptive and prone to wickedness. This applies to the right as well as the left. But if all the charges against Judge Kavanaugh were true, he should be in a criminal court, not a Senate committee room. Truth is not the issue. He has already been dragged to the altar, not only for his own sins but for the sins of the patriarchy. Vicarious sacrifices never get a trial. Nor do they satisfy.
All the more reason to look to the one true sacrifice, who satisfied the one true God for our sake. And pray for those who don’t know Him.