Kavanaugh: Confirmation or not, the anger remains, the rallying cry goes on

Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune
By Maramis
Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune.

Kavanaugh may have made it by the slimmest of margins, but while he is now Justice of the Supreme Court, the issue still goes on. No one in their right mind would choose to have a rapist, or a man who has little regard for women — as in one willing to attack a woman just to have his way with her — taking his seat on the Supreme Court of the land. Yet if the final decision was based on all the information gathered that led to the confirmation — meaning there was no proof of the allegations which would have kept Judge Kavanaugh from being confirmed — are we not to accept it as we are asked to accept the outcomes of trials? (Of course, Kavanaugh was not on trial, and there was no risk of “punishment” for a crime should he have not been confirmed, other than the additional punishment of more of the pain he has already suffered — that of the blot on his good name, which he has spent many years in building up, coupled with the embarrassment and agony for his family, himself, all his other family and friends, to say nothing of his political standing as a judge. Not being confirmed would not necessarily have meant he was guilty of those charges, any more than a verdict of not guilty means that the person who was on
trial is innocent of everything connected to what he or she was charged with.
If you’ve ever been on trial or even watched a trial all the way through to the words the judge speaks to the jury before they go in to deliberate on what they have just heard during the trial and on which they must base their verdict, you would know trials are not a black and white affair that always get to the absolute truth. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they do not, but it is the system we have, and one on which we base the saying, “Innocent until proven guilty.” And we need to stick to that. When we decide to take the law, or so-called justice, into our own hands, we end up with everything that’s ugly and destructive to the welfare of our country: lynchings; the burning of churches and yes, abortion clinics, too; even the torching of parked cars and all the mom-and-pop stores up and down the street, desecrating whole towns at the whim of those who did not like the outcome of a trial or a decision that was made over some issue, and the like.
We may not have the perfect system in this country for determining truth, yet who would swap our system for a grab-bag choice among all the other systems in the world? We’ve come a long way from burning witches at the stake, and we might have a long way to go, but if we don’t use the procedures that are in place — and change them when need be, according to the procedures that are in place for making such changes — we may end up accepting mob rule and thinking that rioting in the streets is the way to get what we want.
It’s a say day when people believe — and act on those beliefs — that they are the only ones who are right and everyone else is wrong, and take it into their own hands to show their departure from a different viewpoint or even a decision with violence, through hatred and anger and even perhaps by creating their own version of evidence to support their goals. No, I am not saying that the women who felt they had something to say about Brett Kavanaugh’s actions when he was a teenager were lying, or that Judge Kavanaugh was pure as the driven
snow in his youth, but having been through my own teenage years, I know that it’s easy to misremember things; and depending on how we might feel about things today, those feelings can color how we remember things back then. To say nothing about the fact that memories can and do fade over the years, or can be brought to mind by others, perhaps colored a bit by the feelings or beliefs of the others who somehow get involved in our own memories.
And that is not to say that no woman could have totally valid and accurate memories of any such event as Dr. Ford suffered through and offered up, but the bottom line in this situation was that there simply was no corroboration and therefore no proof. We need to put ourselves in Judge Kavanaugh’s shoes and ask how we would feel if we were fired from a job based on someone’s unsubstantiated charges, or kept from a promotion based on the accusations of someone who could have made a mistake.
That is why I will repeat what I said in last week’s column; that it is so vitally important to tell someone, as well as write down exactly what happened when one is involved in something that could ever need to be verified, or something that is of great importance to you — complete with details such as who you told, the date and place of the event, who else was there, maybe even what you were wearing (and it wouldn’t hurt to keep an article of clothing from the event in a plastic bag) — in addition to making a police report, whether or not the police choose to do anything about it. There is no substitute for proof; people can lie, but a police report is one step up from
someone’s word, coupled with your diary from that time, but the coup de grace would be the DNA from that article of clothing (remember Monica’s dress?).
Because few things are clearly black and white (why else would we bother having court trials?), we need to entertain all the many shades of gray. So while many women have been sexually assaulted, whether short of being raped, or even more than “just” being raped, many women also ruin the reputations of men through their false testimonies for their own reasons. All such accusations need to be investigated, but at some point, those who are in position to rule on those accusations have to make a decision, and life does have to go on.
We would like to think that no matter the ruling on Judge Kavanaugh, his family would stick by him. We would also like to think that no matter the ruling, women at large would not think that if they were sexually assaulted, that such a thing would not matter to men at large, or to a body predominantly male, such as the Senate. But over
the years, we have seen that people can surprise us, and often feelings or previous events can trump credibility in present time.
I, for one, hope that Justice Kavanaugh can live up to the positive expectations of him, and that this particular investigation into his past will not deter women from coming forth when they have suffered sexual assault that needs to be made public.
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Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at maramis@lasvegastribune.com.

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