Predictably, there is absolute and irreconcilable hysteria over the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court Justice hearings. One side says he’s a saint and she’s just another evil and sleazy Democrat party operative who’ll stoop to any disgusting low and tell any disgusting lie; the other side says she’s a tragic victim and he’s an alcoholic, drug-administering serial rapist and pedophile.
Neither side can prove its accusations or its defense which, just as predictably, gives us the truly sleazy and over-the-top hysterical theatrics of senators and media alike.
Let’s all take a step back, Gentle Reader, and consider a well-known truth of law enforcement.
There are reasons why there is a statute of limitations for almost all crimes except murder. I say “almost” all because the laws vary from state to state, but for our purposes here, almost all is close enough for government work, you should pardon the expression.
One of the primary reasons for a statute of limitations is the fallibility of memory, and before you accuse me of being partisan, hear my story:
Before we bought our little ranch, Darleen and I were living in a house at a fairly high elevation in the southern Sierras. We had put the house on the market with an eye to buying the ranch and one day a realtor called to request a showing. She showed up with a very distinguished, very elegant, very sophisticated gentleman. He made all the right noises; he chatted easily and graciously; he spoke German to me; he had a good eye and immediately identified and admired our two best paintings; he said nice things about the house.
He told us he was one of the men in charge of investments for the Vatican; that he had a flat in Rome and a house in Germany, both of which he intended to keep, but that he was planning for his retirement, hence his interest in our house.
I thought at the time it was odd that such a sophisticated and urbane man would want to retire to an impoverished rural county, but the southern Sierras are heartbreakingly beautiful, so I didn’t make too much of it. I also thought it odd he should be interested in such a small and modest house as ours, but as if reading my mind, he mentioned casually that he was planning to buy several homes in the area so that he could gather his mother and a sister around him when he retired.
It was all just extraordinary enough to be believable, and yet…
And yet, some instinct in me, some warning bell, went off, and while I smiled and chatted and shook hands when he left, I was wary, and I doubted anything would come of it.
I was both right and wrong.
A week later, I was home alone when I saw him driving down our driveway, unannounced, by himself, without the realtor. Those are all no-no’s and I was immediately on guard. He asked if he could take one more look around before he flew back to Rome. I said no. We spoke very briefly in the doorway, and then he got back in his car and I watched him drive away.
At the time, I attributed his visit to nothing more outrageous than an unethical and sleazy attempt to cut the realtor out of a commission. That was what I told Darleen when she got home and as the realtor was a friend of hers, she called to give her friend a heads-up.
Another week went by. I was in the local gym, working out, when our police chief and a detective walked in and told me they needed to question me. It turned out my instincts had been correct, but they just hadn’t gone far enough. Our sophisticated, urbane, and well-heeled buyer was actually just a slick con-man with a lengthy felony record, and the police now wanted to know what he had said to us, what he had told us about his plans, if he had mentioned any places in California other than our little community, and especially if he had mentioned the names of any other people. And on and on.
At one point, the detective, who was taking notes, asked me what car the man had been driving. That was easy: I had seen him driving to the house, and I had watched him drive away. It was brand new Something-or-Other, a new car that had just been introduced that year and was being advertised everywhere, so it was very recognizable. Did I remember the color? Oh, yes, of course. It was bright red.
There was a long pause and the two officers looked at each other.
Was I positive it was red?
Yes, one-hundred percent positive. Bright red.
Another long pause, and then the detective said, “We have him in custody, and when we arrested him, he was driving a brand new Something-or-Other that was bright blue.”
And I instantly knew what had happened. That car was being touted in commercials on every television channel and in print ads in every magazine, and in each case, in each print ad and each commercial, it was being shown in bright red. I had simply conflated what I saw in the ads and commercials with what I had seen in my driveway.
So how do we now reconcile the polar opposites of sworn testimony from two very believable people, each of whom is absolutely certain they are speaking the unvarnished truth? I suspect Ms. Ford probably did have some extremely unpleasant experience at some party at some house in some neighborhood at some time, but I also suspect her thirty-six-year-later identification of Brett Kavanaugh is due to a conflation of unrelated events. She may have seen him at some other party, or he may have reminded her of her actual attacker, or… Who knows? Memory is both fallible and unreliable. Hence the statute of limitations.
Contrary to a posting making the rounds of Facebook, presumption of innocence is not confined solely to criminal cases; it is the basis for all legal proceedings and, more importantly, all civilized behavior. Due process in a legal sense is not an issue here, but the same Facebook posting claims nothing is being taken from Mr. Kavanaugh. Oh, really? Reputation is no small thing and taking that from a man can destroy his life as effectively as taking his liberty or his rights or his property.
Alan Dershowitz, the liberal Democrat lawyer and legal scholar, doesn’t care one way or the other about Brett Kavanaugh, and he believes Merrick Garland should currently be seated on the Supreme Court, but Mr. Dershowitz rightly pointed out in a recent Wall Street Journal article that this is no longer about Mr. Kavanaugh’s qualifications. Instead, according to Mr. Dershowitz, it has devolved down into nothing more than a fundamental issue of fairness. Mr. Dershowitz goes on to point out, quite correctly, that we live in a new age of sexual McCarthyism, where all that is needed is an allegation—never mind how outrageous, improbable or impossible to prove—to ruin a man’s life.
The poet, philosopher, and theologian Samuel Taylor Coleridge coined the term “motiveless malignity” to describe Iago’s evil glee in destroying Othello. The same term might be equally applied to the Democrat members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and their equally evil, equally gleeful attacks on Mr. Kavanaugh. If you really believe Roe v. Wade is so important a touchstone that preserving it justifies any degree of dishonesty, filth, hate-mongering, smirking innuendo, character assassination, and posturing, then you have no business serving in any government at any level.
Did a crime occur? Definitively. The crime that has occurred is the ruthless destruction of a man’s good name, based purely on allegations, without any scintilla of evidence, never mind proof, by the likes of such paragons of probity and honesty as Senator Spartacus, Richard I’m-a-Courageous-Vietnam-Vet-Who-Never-Set-Foot-in-Vietnam-and-Lied-About-It Blumenthal, Dick Weaponize-the-IRS Durbin, Mazie-I-Believe-Her-So-We-Don’t-Need-No-Stinking-Constitution Hirono, Dianne-My-Chauffeur-Was-a-Chinese-Spy-and-My-Husband-Has-Made-Millions-in-China Feinstein, et al.
There is no limit to the depravity of man, but it sure as hell hits its zenith in politics. Or should that be nadir?