“It is our job to make his pattern of revolting behavior clear -- piece by painful piece”
- Brett Kavanaugh
Much like Dr. Christine Ford, Monica Lewinsky’s life was turned upside down by the glare of someone else's spotlight. While Brett Kavanaugh asserted that engaging in sexual relations with Bill Clinton turned “her life into a shambles”, from Lewinsky's point of view it was his boss, Kenneth Starr, “who turned [her] 24-year-old life into a living hell”. As tribal politics raged, it was not the sex acts, but Clinton’s use of her as “a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position” that provided his contribution to her enduring victimization.
Looking back on the 1990’s with the experience of the #MeToo era, there are questions that should have been asked about the most powerful man in the world having sexual relations with an employee. Lewinsky has always maintained that the relationship was consensual, but “power imbalances — and the ability to abuse them — do exist even when the sex has been consensual.” As a society, have we established where the lines are?
Unfortunately, Kavanaugh did not seem interested in this line of questioning. Instead, he was infatuated with the most unimportant part of the story - the details of the sex acts:
Given this history, one has to wonder what Lindsey Graham was thinking as he bloviated that if Kavanaugh was looking “for a fair process, [then] he came to the wrong town at the wrong time”. When does he think that this poisoned, political atmosphere began? If the nominee thinks that the “confirmation process has become a national disgrace”, how does he feel today about what he put Lewinsky through and what it did to her and her family? If “the idea of going easy on [Clinton] at the questioning [was] abhorrent to [him]”, his current outrage should be directed at the Republican majority in the Senate. By not investigating all of the accusations, they are the ones who are avoiding the responsibility of providing informed consent to his lifetime nomination to the highest court in the land.
Of course, this ignores the important distinction between Kavanaugh’s apparent obsession with Clinton’s sex life and the charges that may derail his assertion to the Supreme Court; if Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is telling the truth, then Kavanaugh acted without consent. This alleged attempted rape represents “callous and disgusting behavior that has somehow gotten lost in the shuffle.” Yet in this era of fierce partisanship, the victim has been viciously attacked. Apparently, the claim from the right that “all lives matter” was disingenuous. In a world where the ends justify the means, Dr. Ford, along with morality and justice, can be sacrificed as long as the conservative majority is solidified on the Supreme Court.