The #MeToo movement should have been a catalyst for change. Change in the way that men and women conduct themselves in the workplace. And more importantly, change in the way that we talk about the very pressing issue of sexual assault. Had this been what the movement primarily focused on, every American should have been able to get behind this core message. As a society, it is in everyone’s best interest to catch those responsible for perpetrating horrific acts of sexual violence. But over the last year, the #MeToo movement has become little more than a drawn-out witch hunt that grants the accuser unlimited authority to say whatever they want with little need for anything resembling substantial evidence. Men like Aziz Ansari, Morgan Freeman, Steven Wynn, Garrison Keillor, and many others have either been accused of sexual impropriety without any supporting evidence or have been called out for behavior that is largely inconsequential, especially when compared to the monstrous behavior of true offenders like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby. Keillor’s case, in particular, involves the latter. Even seemingly innocent involving the most innocuous physical contact imaginable have been spun into stories of survival and trauma.
Let me be clear: none of this is meant to dismiss the very real hardships faced by actual survivors of sexual violence of any form. It is merely meant to illustrate my main point: we still live in a republic that values the concept of due process. Even if the guilty party is indeed guilty, they are still entitled to a defense. It really is that simple.
#MeToo’s latest victim is none other than Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. The accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, a professor of statistics at Palo Alto University, has alleged that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a high school party back in 1982. Cases like these are inherently problematic, as a number of questions can be posed regarding the legitimacy of Ford’s claims. And since those questions have indeed been posted, it should come as no shock that Ford can’t seem to substantiate her own story. She has been unable to provide a day or location for the event in question and has named witnesses who, in light of recent events, have been unable to corroborate her story.
The narrative being promulgated on the side of the Senate Democrats implies that Republicans are just looking to push Kavanaugh straight through to the bench and rush this entire nomination process. This argument is unfair for two reasons:
- Kavanaugh has already testified for more than thirty-five hours before the Senate Confirmation Committee. He has been more than cooperative throughout this entire process.
- It is the Democrats who have been attempting to grind this confirmation to a halt since day one. Both Cory Booker, with his “I am Spartacus” nonsense, and Kamala Harris, with her baseless grilling of Kavanaugh on Russian collusion, have made complete and utter fools of themselves before their peers and the American public at large, depending on who you ask.
Ever since Senator Diane Feinstein released Ford’s letter, which was initially anonymous, it has become clear that this is just the latest tactic Democrats have employed with the goal of derailing Kavanaugh’s confirmation. This seems evident for two reasons:
- Feinstein has reportedly been sitting on this letter since late July and apparently felt no impetus to make her colleagues aware of this situation earlier, which makes this entire situation look politically motivated.
- Chuck Grassley, the current Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, penned a letter offering Ford the luxury to testify publicly or privately and on a day of her choice. This seemed like an effective way of combating the Left’s claim that Republicans weren’t interested in hearing Ford’s story, but of course, they found a way to spin this offer as unfair and sexist.
On Thursday night, Ford’s lawyers put forth a series of demands that they wish to be fulfilled in order for Ford to testify under oath. Kavanaugh has already agreed to do so, and if he has been lying he’ll be arrested for perjury. He knows the risk of taking such action, clearly. The demands, as outlined by Ford’s attorneys, are as follows:
- She is not to be questioned by any outside counsel.
- The defense is to testify first (We’ll get to this, don’t you worry).
- Mark Judge, one of the men who is alleged to have had a hand in assaulting Ford, is to be subpoenaed.
Of the three demands, the second is by far the most baffling. Ford’s camp expects Kavanaugh to testify before hearing any of their claims against him. With every passing day, this case seems to lose more and more steam. Kavanaugh has already been marked as guilty before he’s even had the ability to defend himself. And yet, the Senate Democrats are more than willing to allow his reputation to be completely eroded so long as they get to use their platform for grandstanding.
Those who previously claimed that Ford was telling the truth have now begun to walk back their claims. Cristina King Miranda, a former classmate of both Kavanaugh and Ford, initially claimed that the incident did happen and that many people in school had heard about it at the time. Shortly thereafter, Miranda removed the post and did an interview with NPR where she was asked why she made the post, to begin with. Her answer? Because she felt “empowered”:
“In my [Facebook] post, I was empowered and I was sure it probably did [happen],” Miranda told NPR. “I had no idea that I would now have to go to the specifics and defend it before 50 cable channels and have my face spread all over MSNBC news and Twitter.”
This is where the danger of a movement like #MeToo becomes most evident. Accusations are now more valuable than truth. The priority is to maintain the narrative as opposed to seeking justice.
#MeToo is right about one basic idea: we do need to find ways to encourage women to come forward as early as possible following an act of sexual assault. But with that also comes the burden of providing evidence, which most average people are more than willing to entertain the presentation thereof. We should approach cases like this with the initial presumption that a woman’s story could be true, and as the story develops, the facts should theoretically become more clear. But given Ford’s camp doing everything they can to not testify before a court, this story is losing credibility at an alarming rate.