In the world of politics today, the most effective weapon in order to defeat your opponent is not a firm understanding of the issues or the ability to think on one’s feet in a stressful situation. Nor is it a life of character and service to one’s family and community. Even a strong faith life is not the most effective weapon.
No, the most effective, and most deadly, weapon is the accusation of wrongdoing at some time in your opponent’s life. But not just any wrongdoing. No, it must be of a sexual nature or of a racial nature. To accuse an individual of a sexual assault or of being a racist is to forever brand the accused with a stigma that may never be removed.
At the same time, the accusation need not be true, nor does any actual evidence have to be presented. All that is necessary is the seriousness of the accusation. Combine that with a political party without a conscience and a complicit media, and the damage can be enormous.
Of course, this brings us to the current situation with Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Most of us are aware of the sketchy details: A woman claims that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party thirty-six years ago, when Kavanaugh was a junior in high school. The accuser admits that she was drinking at the time, does not know where the house was, does not know how she got to the party, or how she got home, and is not even sure what year the assault supposedly happened. She claims she never told anyone about the incident until she mentioned it to a therapist in 2012 and, even then, never specifically identified Kavanaugh by name.
She has no evidence to place Kavanaugh at the scene and no evidence to prove it actually occurred. However, most Democrats and most of the mainstream media have already declared that the woman is telling the truth. There is no presumption of innocence for Kavanaugh, even though he vehemently denies that the incident ever took place. At the time of this writing, Kavanaugh has said that he will testify under oath to the judiciary committee to that effect. However, the accuser is declaring that she will not testify until the FBI investigates the matter, which it will not do.
No matter how this turns out, Kavanaugh will be forever tainted. It will not make a difference if he is as innocent as a newborn babe. Should the Senate confirm his nomination, and he becomes a justice of the Supreme Court, history will always record that he was accused of an attempted rape of a teenage girl when he was in high school.
Should some of the senators who, prior to this last-minute accusation, were prepared to vote for his confirmation, now change their votes, it would be possible that he would fail to be confirmed. History would then record that the Senate rejected him because he may have been guilty of an attempted rape of a teenage girl.
Yes, this is very similar to the Clarence Thomas debacle where Anita Hill accused him of sexual harassment. Thomas survived by characterizing the attempt to destroy his reputation as a “high-tech lynching.” Many would say that he has survived with little long-term harm to his name. Perhaps, but history still records the accusation, and I submit that a sexual harassment charge is not as damaging as a charge of attempted rape.
For his entire life, Kavanaugh has been the living embodiment of what a good man should be. He is happily married, with two daughters. He coaches girls basketball, feeds the hungry, and sincerely practices his Catholic faith. Hundreds of men and women who have known him personally or who have worked with him have nothing but the highest regard for his character. But, still, great harm has been inflicted upon him. No matter what he does in the future, there will be those who will say, “You know, maybe he did try to rape that girl.”
“That would be so unjust!” you might declare. And you would be right. It is a calumny that cries out to heaven.
Good men live in perilous times today. Accusations without evidence cannot be allowed to destroy their lives. All people of good will must stand up and reject such despicable acts.