Kavanaugh decision highlights male privilege

Meghan Schmitt, Culture Editor

Writing a simple feature piece about Brett Kavanaugh’s ascension to the Supreme Court is perhaps one of the most difficult assignments I have undertaken at Saint Anselm College.

I feel emotionally compromised, and my mental state is reminiscent of the period shortly following President Trump’s election in 2016. I feel anger tangled in a larger web of hopelessness.

The #MeToo movement was eye-opening on a global level, yet it seems like it was not enough to stop the bureaucratic patriarchy in Washington from nominating a man who not only has a checkered past but has also admitted in the past to believing that the president is above the law. While he has rebuked that opinion, he refused to comment on the possibility of a president pardoning himself, or that a president should be required to respond to a subpoena.

That hesitancy was the matter at stake for the GOP. Trump wanted a lackey on the Supreme Court, and the Republicans followed him like lemmings wandering off a cliff.

There are plenty of conservative, pro-life judges whom they could have chosen to uphold their right-wing values, but they did not.

My anger extends beyond the injustice that was done to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford by the President of the United States. Justice Kavanaugh’s testimony before the Judiciary Committee, his version of a job interview, was rife with belligerence.

Is yelling in front of a committee judicial behavior? Claiming that the credible allegations in the path to his Supreme Court seat were a Clinton conspiracy? Lying about the euphemistic terms for sexual activities? Emphasizing a holier-than-thou background which his classmates remember differently?

Many individuals, including myself, have agreed that Kavanaugh would have been far more becoming to the American people if he had been simply upfront about his rebellious youth in a calm manner and emphasized his growth as a person.

His behavior was not calm, and I am tired of men, white men, in particular, being allowed to be verbally angry with no repercussions. It is one of the most insidious facets of white male privilege.

In previous, worse years, I was not allowed to defend myself if I was insulted by men I conversed with; when I cried or yelled in an attempt to preserve my own sense of dignity, I was told to calm down, to stop emoting, and that my tears were a weakness.

Though these incidents have reduced in frequency, that change is due more to my redefined demeanor than any change of behavior from those with whom I interacted.  The fragility of the male ego exists because women have had to repress their feelings in order to avoid conflict and violence.

Accusations of assault and belligerent behavior would be disqualifiers for any position in the public sector, but apparently, not for the political male elite.

Last Saturday, the legislative body of the United States betrayed some of its bravest citizens, survivors of assault, many of them women from all walks of life.