Of all the dark days since January 2017, one stands out as the darkest.
You probably remember this face:
It's Christine Blasey-Ford, remember? The woman whom Supreme Court nominee (now judge) Brett Kavanaugh raped in 1982? (Since this is an opinion piece and not a term paper, I can say "raped" without the modifier "allegedly." To use a popular catchphrase—I gave myself permission.)
I thought of Dr. Ford last week during the Michael Cohen testimony, then again Monday when I read excerpts from an interview with Roseanne Barr, and then—as if it were some sort of conspiracy, again yesterday when I listened to a podcast from last fall.
Let me start in the middle with Barr's interview. Ms. Barr, her reputation as a bottom feeder clearly etched in stone, provided Breitbart news with a disjointed, ludicrous, probably illegal substance-addled tirade during which she said Dr. Ford should be in prison. Not even jail, prison. During the same interview she railed against the Me Too movement and claimed that the victims were, by and large, hoes. As is usually the case among the befuddled and ignorant, Ms. Barr partially walked back a few of those comments. Too late. Up until that point in my life I had endured two overriding questions—(1) who in his right mind would pay attention to Roseann Barr, and (2) what exactly is the plural of ho? One of those has been answered.
Then last night I listened to an interview with the writer, Joyce Maynard. Her life story pretty much defies categorization, but this particular interview was given last fall at around the time of the Kavanaugh hearings. Ms. Maynard thought not only that Dr. Ford's testimony was accurate, but that the so-called inaccuracies clearly told the story of a woman so stunned by shock and fear, that trivial matters like location and time of day would remain in her mind only by serendipity. It was not a stretch, Ms. Maynard said, to call is PTSD. The Republican males who questioned her took advantage of that fact (and knew it) to discredit her testimony, and it worked...which brings us to Michael Cohen.
His testimony last week was as compelling as Dr. Ford's, but there was a different attitude in that chamber. At first I couldn't tell what it was, and I'm still not sure. Let me be even more wishy-washy: I could be entirely wrong. But it seemed that even Cohen's most virulent detractors treated him with the implied deference that Dr. Ford never received. Even afterwards, the word liar was employed primarily by Donald Trump—our least reliable source for anything imaginable, while most Republicans wished Cohen would just go away. In short, we believed a lawyer who had already been sentenced to prison for criminal activities, but we doubted the veracity of a research psychologist and educator.
I am as certain that the young Brett Kavanaugh raped that girl as I am that the President of the United States paid hush money to a pornographic movie star. Of course Trump's sexual activities are the stuff of jokes and barbs—and most Americans assume they're true. Brett Kavanaugh's indiscretions ruined a life—at least one—and the only person making jokes about it is Roseanne Barr.
Every new day in the Trump administration seems dark, salacious, obscene; but there will never be a day any darker for the moral stature of this nation-under-God, than the day our duly elected officials, the ones who took that solemn oath, chose a rapist over his victim.