Monday, October 1, 2018

Kavanaugh, Ford, and Whom to Believe

I couldn't avoid seeing the circus last week. And of course I've heard countless analyses of the proceedings, most of them predictable. You know exactly who will take which side.

But what bothers me is the way people choose whom to believe.

There was a time when a woman's testimony was considered suspect at best. There was a time when an African American's testimony could never compete with a white person's. People were categorized, and considered trustworthy--or not--based primarily on the group to which they belonged.

So, the content of the testimony mattered less than the external characteristics of the witness.

Today, Kavanaugh cannot be believed because he is a white male. Of course they are sexual predators. Of course they lie about it.

And Ford can't be believed. She's an opportunist. She's confused. She's a Democrat.

Now, someone is either lying or confused, for sure. But let's not dismiss either party categorically. Can't we listen and weigh evidence? Do we have to ridicule? Do we have to make the ugly scene fit our prejudices?

We need to step back from the vitriolic accusations and care about people, even people with whom we disagree.