Doth protest too much
The Brett Kavanaugh nomination and the subsequent accusations of sexual misconduct is a traumatising experience for American politics but it throws the whole issue of ethics into another realm.
I listened to the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, and it would be hard to consider that she was not being honest. No, she offered no corroborating evidence, but given her credentials and demeanour throughout her testimony, she came over as extremely credible, which set a strong case for Kavanaugh to deny.
Yet deny he did, however, not forcibly with counter-facts; rather with anger and emotions over having his present and subsequent reputation challenged by an old allegation. He would have been better if he were able to dismiss the allegation or at least have raised even a hint of doubt about her assertions. But he didn’t.
The real case that Kavanaugh faces is not the behaviour of him as a 17-year-old, but his honesty as a man seeking the highest legal office.
Not to suggest that the behaviour of the 17-year-old should be forgotten and written off as a juvenile indiscretion, but if that’s what he did, then own it.
It would be better that he owned up to it and even say he was too drunk to know or remember the details and, that if they were as bad as claimed, he is sorry rather than completely deny and try to make Dr Ford a liar.
The bigger crime and testimony against his character is not the alleged sexual assault against Dr Ford but his willingness to throw her under the bus to save his reputation as a nominee.
The sidebar truth is that the pickings will get very slim if we have to take into account all the indiscretions of youthful years.
In the Bermuda context, we have not only had MPs but also Cabinet ministers in recent and former times who have committed crimes that are abhorrent to public morality.
And in the legal profession, they are almost completely veiled from public criticism. We may never get to the ethical critique that happens in the United States because our leaders are protected by party constructs and parliamentary controls that have little to no mechanisms of public oversight.
One day, perhaps, it will dawn on us that judges, prosecutors and MPs are all public servants and their cloaks and garments are not to be considered as untouchable ivory towers.
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