After growing up in a world of extreme privilege and entering the corridors of
Michael Gerson, for example, of the Washington Post is simply aghast at how personal and vicious Sen. Mazi Hirono (D-Hawaii) got when asked about Kavanaugh denying the allegation of sexual assault leveled against him:
But Hirono appears to be contending that Kavanaugh is more prone to lie about sexual assault because his approach to judicial interpretation is extreme and deceptive, and because he is probably opposed to Roe v. Wade. These beliefs, she seems to be saying, are indications of bad character.
Does Hirono actually believe that being pro-life (something Kavanaugh, by the way, has not acknowledged) and a judicial conservative makes someone more prone to lie about attempted rape?
The short answer to this is: Yes. The long answer is: Are you fucking insane? Yes, goddamit!
Kavanaugh has spent decades ensconced in the conservative movement being groomed for this. Whether Gerson chooses to acknowledge this or not, the machine built by billionaires to churn out loyal drones tolerates no independent thought and rewards obedience richly. This club is intensely racist, misogynistic, and anti-(small d) democratic. It also has no moral or ethical center. Power to rule over the rubes is the bottom line. Power by any means necessary.
So when Gerson asks his question, he is leaving out a bit of context. It’s not just that Kavanaugh is a conservative and pro-life, it’s that he’s a conservative and pro-life within a movement that openly and actively talks about women as if they are chattel. Not for nothing, CNN just had a panel of Republican operatives, all female, who went on the air to explain that attempted rape is just something boys do and we shouldn’t make a big deal out of it. Last year, it became a widespread talking point on the right that a grown man dating/sexually assaulting an underage girl is OK because it’s in the Bible.
This is a movement in which white men with money and power are revered as gods. Unaccountable. Untouchable. Able to do whatever they want to whoever they want without consequence because that’s how it’s always been. They elected Trump in part because he was the personification of this
But Gerson wasn’t done.
It is feasible that some people are genuinely disturbed by a medical procedure that begins with two genetically distinct human beings and ends with one? Is it reasonable to credit the good intentions of millions of men and women who want the circle of inclusion and protection to include every human life, at every stage of development?
I love having this argument with pro-“life” people. I can suss out their “good intentions” in just a few minutes. It’s really simple and you can play along!
Ask the following:
- Do you believe that women should have access to contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancies?
- Do you believe teens should be taught comprehensive sexual education in school to prevent unwanted pregnancies?
- Do you believe pregnant women should have free prenatal care?
- Do you believe children should have free medical, food, clothes, housing, and education?
If they say “Yes” to all or even most of these, then that person is, in fact, arguing against abortion with good intentions. But, spoilers!, most of the “millions of men and women” Gerson refers to will respond with a sneering “No!” and then lecture you about how they shouldn’t have to pay for some slut who couldn’t keep her legs closed. That’s because the pro-“life” movement has nothing to do with life and everything to do with punishing women. This is why the instant Roe v. Wade is overturned, the right will go after Griswold v. Connecticut, the case that allows women access to birth control.
Personally, I would love to have Michael Gerson answer these questions. I would also love to have him ask all of his pro-“life” friends the same and see how many of them reject the notion of actually reducing abortions or protecting children in favor of making those dirty whores suffer for having sex.
But Gerson still wasn’t done. This entire column was about blaming “both sides” for the toxic partisan atmosphere in Washington so that requires massive amounts of false equivalency:
There is, of course, a mirror-image problem of pro-life activists who regard pro-choice people as murderers. But that is precisely the point. There is a strong current of dehumanization running in our politics. The rival crew, it turns out, is not only wrong but evil. And how can mortal enemies embrace the give and take of a shared political project? Only the raw exercise of power can decide between them. The goal is no longer to win arguments but to crush opposition.
To summarize, the side that calls people murderers, actually murders people, firebombs abortion clinics, and denies women their reproductive rights for the purpose of punishing them is the mirror-image of the side that finds the first group to be morally repugnant for doing those things. Remember, Republicans pass laws to close down abortion clinics but then also ban contraceptives and sex education and cut Medicaid for pregnant women and food stamps for newborn children. They do all of this to the rapturous applause of their base.
To continue to say they are concerned with the lives of the unborn requires a suspension of disbelief bordering on mental illness. And when Gerson says that both sides are a mirror image of the other? One is forced to wonder if he has actually seen a mirror outside of a circus funhouse.
And then Gerson takes the full “both sides” plunge into the absurd:
This is the moral risk of extreme political polarization: dehumanization. In our circumstance, it has emerged in the bipartisan dehumanization of political opponents and in the nativist dehumanization of certain groups: migrants, refugees and Muslims. This is not politics as usual; it is political pyromania. Our democracy is designed for disagreement. It is broken by mutual contempt.
In World War II, the United States went to Europe and proceeded to kill hundreds of thousands of Nazis. We did not feel guilty about this because they were monsters who planned to exterminate entire populations of people. Their “nativist dehumanization of certain groups” led to genocide as it inevitably must when given the power to do so.
Yet, somehow, Gerson is blaming both sides for the state of American politics. He can’t even bring himself to acknowledge that only one side is engaged in “nativist dehumanization”, a nice way of saying “white nationalism. Why? Because it’s too hard to justify why those opposed to such evil shouldn’t be wholly committed to stamping it out. Far easier to pretend we should be practicing politics as usual as if the white nationalism and fascism of the GOP were normal and healthy and not a cancer to be burned out.
Michael Gerson is the perfect example of right’s lifeboat building. If everyone is to blame, then no one is to blame when the Republican Party implodes over the coming two election cycles. Good luck with that, Mikey. Only one side is goosestepping and throwing Nazi salutes and everyone knows it.
But aside from Gerson’s insipid lying, Sen. Hirono is right: Kavanaugh’s despicable politics make him exactly the kind of person that would do the things he’s accused of and lie about it. And Republicans will tell any lie to cover for him, including Gerson. That’s who they are and that’s why they have to be destroyed; not because of Gerson’s imaginary “both sides” dehumanization but because Republicans have openly embraced fascism and white nationalism as a means to power and can no longer coexist with our system of democracy.
I’m a stay at home dad, father to a special needs son and a special daughter, a donor baby daddy, a militantly pragmatic liberal, the president of the PTA, a hardcore geek and nerd and I’m going to change the world. Or at least my corner of it.