There is so much to say about the likely vote tomorrow that will grant Judge Brett Kavanaugh one of the most powerful positions in the world for the rest of his life.
I wish to focus this reflection on President Donald Trump’s speech earlier this week mocking Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at a rally in Mississippi. You can read more about the speech here.
There has been significant outcry and concern. But not by all. His own press secretary, Sarah Sanders, described it as Trump “stating facts.”
My attention during this speech is drawn to the folks behind the President as he made his comments about Ford’s testimony. You can watch it here.
You will find people of all ages. You see many middle-aged men. And they laugh as the President speaks. It makes you wonder why anyone would ever come forward as a survivor of a sexual assault.
But what about the young boy behind Trump. He is probably around 10-years old. As Trump mocks Ford, and as the laughter fills the room, this youth looks confused. Perhaps it goes over his head. Even if it does, the people around him (likely family), were laughing. What is the message here, and what will it be as he grows.
I can recall being a teenager when President Bill Clinton addressed the nation (twice) about his own sex scandal. I wondered then what the message was that was being sent to my generation. I didn’t fully understand as I do now the power dynamic, the inappropriateness, and the mistrust in a person in a position that is supposed to held to a higher standard.
This blog has not addressed anything political in nature. I have responded to the Catholic Church scandal, but I intentionally seek to unite and not to divide by my words.
This post is intended to hit the pause button on our current state of affairs.
We have our leader mocking a sexual assault survivor, urged on by the laughter of not just the arena, but many of the nation.
And there this child stands, being formed and socialized to do the same.
When people challenge my empathy for Ford, I ask, “what if it was your daughter?” This question often gets to the heart of the matter.
Sure, some respond, “what if someone made an allegation against you?” Most however, especially if they have a child, look at the issue in a different way.
Jesus tells us, “we must become like children (MT 18:3).” As this living word speaks to us today, we must also look at the children. What if it was our child that made such claims? Would we be so quick to not believe them, or to question their intentions?
What if we notice the child in the room in the midst of the “most powerful man in the free world” dismissing the heartfelt account of one of our nation’s citizens?
I choose not the believe the words of Cormac McCarthy in the 1992 novel All the Pretty Horses: “He stood at the window of the empty cafe and watched the activities in the square and he said that it was good that God kept the truths of life from the young as they were starting out or else they’d have no heart to start at all.”
Rather, I choose to focus on the words of Graham Greene in 1955 novel The Quiet American: “That was my first instinct — to protect him. It never occurred to me that there was a greater need to protect myself. Innocence always calls mutely for protection when we would be so much wiser to guard ourselves against it: innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm.”