Monday, September 24, 2018

Protecting Patriarchy

We’ve seen this play before--Republican men scurrying like rats on steroids to ram through a Supreme Court nominee without a full investigation of women’s allegations of sexual misconduct. The old white boys club is circling their patriarchal bully sticks around one of their own--Brett Kavanaugh--who has, in his various opinions, displayed the same anti-woman bias that binds them to a past when women were considered men’s property and had no rights except those dispensed by their fathers or husbands. Make no mistake, confirming Kavanaugh to the high court, would shift the balance to the far right and take women back to a pre-scientific era when there was no respect for women’s personhood, no reproductive health, no reproductive choice.

Thankfully this is a different world. The old white male supremacist ship is not going to make it out of its patriarchal harbor. Because of the #MeToo movement, male Republicans’ rhetoric is a bit different from 1991 when Anita Hill testified that Clarence Thomas subjected her to sexual harassment. Two of the same committee members, Hatch and Grassley, who vilified Ms. Hill in 1991 are now choosing their words more carefully. They say Dr. Christine Blasey Ford deserves a hearing but they aren’t convincing. The smear-mongers mobilized faster than a swarm of bees, calling Dr. Blasey Ford “confused,” “mistaken.” It couldn’t have happened because she didn’t report it years ago. Haven’t they noticed? Victims of sexual abuse, whether by priests or politicians, don’t report for many years. Some never report. For her bravery in coming forward, Dr. Blasey Ford received death threats and had to move out of her home for her and her family’s safety. Senator Diane Feinstein, who released Dr. Blasey Ford’s letter, has received threats to her staff. Patriarchy in full vicious display. Such big men.

As of September 23, 2018, a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, has come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. It turns out that Republicans on the Judiciary Committee knew about the second woman last week but only speeded up their efforts to confirm Kavanaugh without a full investigation. Senate czar Mitch McConnell proclaimed that Kavanaugh would be confirmed. The clear message here is that sexual misconduct by a rich white boy should just be shrugged off as “boys-will-be-boys behavior,” nothing to make such a fuss about. But they aren’t going to get away with it this time.

Senator Feinstein and other senators are again calling for a full investigation. With two sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh, and possibly more, an investigation must be held. A full investigation. With witnesses who are waiting in the wings.

This is about more than the constitutional right to obtain an abortion. Yes, that right is critical to women’s health and must be protected. But more is at stake here. The sex-abuser-in-chief and his servile courtiers are all out to reinstate power and control over women, body and soul. While decrying large government, these smarmy male hypocrites have no problem using every legal tool at their disposal to allow government to invade the most intimate orifices of women’s bodies. If Roe v. Wade is gone, women’s bodies once again become, in effect, property of the state. The use of physical force to overpower women is rape. The use of laws to control women’s bodies is legislative rape. Kavanaugh is one of their boys.

Imagine installing a man who called birth control “abortion-inducing drugs” on the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh sounds like someone left over from the age when dispensing birth control was considered witchcraft. He has already argued in a 2015 case, Priests for Life v. HHS, and in the earlier “Hobby Lobby case,” that religious organizations should not be forced to provide contraception. Obamacare required employers to provide birth control to employees. Women’s health is unthinkable without contraception. Enlightened men whose sense of masculinity doesn’t ride on women’s backs know this is true. These are the decent men whose masculinity doesn't depend on an erect penis or a loaded gun.

Confirmation to the Supreme Court is a lifetime appointment. Whoever becomes a justice could be on the Court for the next 30 years. Clarence Thomas, confirmed without full investigation of Professor Anita Hill’s allegations of sexual misconduct, has served on the Court almost 27 years. The process of confirming a lifetime appointment must take whatever time is needed for a thorough investigation, not hustled through committee like fast-food. Women--and the American people--deserved better than Clarence Thomas. Now we deserve better than Brett Kavanaugh. No more male use of the law to control women. No more protecting white patriarchy at women’s expense. No more!

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