“I may not be as stong as I think, but I know many tricks and I have resolution.”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
Ernest Hemingway’s last and perhaps greatest story, The Old Man And The Sea keeps popping into my head as I watch Donald Trump and the congressional Republicans dragging Brett Kavanaugh’s pasty, mottled bulk through a confirmation process that should’ve never started in the first place.
In Hemingway’s story, an old fisherman finally nabs a gigantic catch, and as he’s hauling it back to shore, sharks pick away at the fish until, by the time the old man arrives on land, it’s been devoured. Similarly, I still don’t believe Kavanaugh will be confirmed, given all of the disqualifying hashmarks against him, and the Hemingway metaphor is partially why I feel this way.
Kavanaugh as a potential associate justice is permanently damaged, and rightfully so. Whether he’s confirmed or not, the entire roster of allegations against him, and not just the sexual assault charges, will be inextricably linked to his reputation, as if being nominated by Donald Trump wasn’t damaging enough. History will know what he did, and his presence on the Court, should this shitshow zigzag in that direction, will be forever tainted.
Now, with several more women stepping forward late Wednesday, Kavanaugh has gone from being a version of Clarence Thomas to being a version of Bill Cosby, with potentially more and more rape victims emerging as time wears on, regardless of how this process plays out.
By continuing to power through, with sharks all around, they’re exacerbating a lose-lose scenario. Confirm Kavanaugh and launch 80 million women to the polls on November 6 to jettison every Republican on the ballot. Abandon Kavanaugh and every evangelical fetus-fetishist will vote to jettison the Republicans.
With all this in mind, here’s the point.
The modern pro-Trump Republican Party doesn’t care about the details. They don’t care about my screaming or your screaming or Dr. Ford’s completely credible re-telling of her assault at the hands of the GOP’s Supreme Court “champion.” None of that matters to them. The Republicans and especially the Trump White House are all about winning at any cost. Polls are irrelevant. The will of the people is irrelevant. Women are irrelevant. Rape victims are clearly irrelevant.
This isn’t about morality or values or the healthy functioning of Congress or the Supreme Court. The dominating, guiding principle behind Republican politics in this horrendous era is all about never backing down, never acknowledging facts, and to never allow logic to get in the way of a winning. Contradictions are fine. Hypocrisy is fine — indeed, the Republicans have ushered into existence the post-contradiction era. Contradict yourself and defy reason all you want, just keep moving forward to the goal line.
If Dr. Ford and Kavanaugh’s other victims are committing “a con-job” and, now, Ford is ostensibly lying under congressional oath (their view), then allow the FBI to nab the alleged liars. Right? But the Trumps are dodging that obvious measure despite the established precedent for it, and despite the obvious logic of it — that the FBI could legally prove the Trump position on Ford’s lack of veracity. Does this major contradiction matter? Does it move any of them to question whether this exposes a major weakness in their position? Does it matter that Dr. Ford and the others have nothing to gain from all of this, and, given the reports of death threats, everything to lose? Nope, nope and nope. Of course not. Why? Because winning is the only thing.
Back in early 2013, in the wake of 20 children being gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary, a bipartisan amendment was circulated though Congress to strengthen background checks on internet and gun-show firearm sales. It was the least Congress could do, following Sandy Hook, without doing nothing. 74 percent of NRA members supported the amendment. 87 percent of gun owners supported it. 90 percent of the American people in general supported it. And so, the Senate Republicans filibustered the amendment, killing it. Values are irrelevant. Facts are irrelevant. The will of the people is irrelevant. The sickening memory of Sandy Hook is irrelevant. Winning is the only thing. And, with it, unmitigated cruelty.
Likewise, this Republican Party has bound itself to Putin’s Russia — Russian money and Russian cyber-attacks designed to interfere with our democratic institutions, our right to vote. Simultaneously, they’re disenfranchising thousands of American citizens and rigging precincts to slow election day voting to an insurmountable crawl for working men and women who have narrow windows in which to cast their ballots. Democracy is irrelevant. Colluding with a hostile foreign power is fine and dandy as long as it helps them win.
Trump is daily worsening his legal jeopardy by obstructing justice, all in the name of powering through to a confirmed associate justice.
And now they’re steamrolling millions of women in order to shoehorn Kavanaugh onto the Bench. Laughing and sneering at Ford the whole way, just like Kavanaugh and Mark Judge hauntingly laughed at Ford in that house back in 1982.
Trump and his allies don’t just think the women are lying, they have to think they’re lying because they have to win. It’s one of many reasons why Trumpism as a movement needs to be destroyed. Put down. Trump and his co-conspirators have to be so utterly humiliated, so completely trapped, so completely decimated that no one will want to grab the baton and carry it forward, manifesting further havoc upon the free world. Destroying this toxic party is the only means of re-establishing justice and American values as the guiding forces behind our politics.
And this process begins by believing these women and by making sure the Trumps are incapable of safely reaching the shore.