Christine Blasey Ford’s credibility rests heavily on the fact that she vividly described details of the alleged assault, named witnesses, and told several people about them long before Kavanaugh’s nomination. It’s because she has been able to supply this level of corroboration that her claims deserve to be taken with the utmost seriousness, both by the media and the Senate.
But this is not nearly as true for Ramirez
.. Apply a presumption of guilt standard to the people you oppose, and a presumption of innocence standard to the people you favor. Hear something you like about someone you don’t — what used to be known as gossip — and repackage it as “news.”
.. Is it now fair game to draw moral inferences about a nominee because he went to an elite prep school, or was a member of a rowdy fraternity, or said something mean and dumb in his yearbook, or drank somewhat more than he would like to admit?
.. In an age in which our digital footprints are all-but unerasable, such an accounting will become increasingly easy to furnish, and hence to demand. There are advantages to this kind of radical transparency. But it’s hard to imagine who — except for the odd souls who are either morally stainless or utterly shameless — would want to be subjected to the ordeal.
.. To some, all this will be worth it if Kavanaugh is exposed as a sexual predator and stone-faced liar. That’s why today’s hearings are essential — and would have been helped by an F.B.I. investigation and sworn testimony from Mr. Judge. We need to get, as best as we can under imperfect circumstances, the truth of what happened between Kavanaugh and Blasey, two credible witnesses with stories to tell.
But this is not what the Kavanaugh nomination seems to be about anymore. To half the country, it’s about the future of a Supreme Court nominee, pure and simple. To the other half, it’s about that — as well as a paradigm shift in the culture, belated reparation for unequal treatment, and a battle in the service of a moral revolution.
.. it’s worth remembering that revolutions borne by high ideals have a habit of eating their children. If the price of this revolution is the subordination of ordinary fairness to abstract justice, the elevation of rumor over fact, the further debasement of journalism, the devaluation of the rights of the accused, and the complete toxification of public service, it will be a price too high.
“We are women who have known Brett Kavanaugh for more than 35 years and knew him while he attended high school between 1979 and 1983. For the entire time we have known Brett Kavanaugh, he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect,” read the letter, from women who attended schools including Visitation, Stone Ridge and Holton-Arms.
.. “It was just a horrible culture,” she said. “I never married, I don’t have kids, and I trace it all back to those parties.”
All of the women interviewed for this story took pains to point out that not all of the students at the all-boys schools took part in this culture. But the problem was widespread and toxic, they said.
“There were lots of teenage boys I knew at Prep and Gonzaga who were not sexually assaulting girls, but they were in an environment where that was seen as acceptable,”
.. “The story that Dr. Ford told, that doesn’t surprise me at all.”
.. A 1980 Visitation graduate recalls politely asking a Georgetown Prep football player and his friends to leave a party that had ended at her friend’s house. The boys didn’t want to go and said so, asking the woman how she was going to make them leave. One took a step in her direction. She cracked the Heineken bottle from which she had been drinking against the wall and pointed the jagged edge at him. The boy walked away, muttering obscenities. They weren’t friends before, and certainly not after. The woman watched as the man steadily became a pillar of society. She doubts he remembers.
.. “The boys were really unable to regard young women as intellectual, social equals, and it was really infuriating to me. It’s so jarring to feel like you’re a competent, confident person, and then boys can’t treat you like a human.”
Several Georgetown Prep graduates interviewed for this story who attended during the 1980s say they have fond memories of the school and the lifetime friendships they forged there. But they also corroborate the impression that alcohol was an integral part of the school’s identity at the time and that heavy drinking and disregard or mistreatment of women were widely accepted.
I went to an elite high school down the road from his. Here’s what I saw... Ford had attended Holton-Arms, Landon’s sister school.. I do remember plenty about the culture of these same-sex programs, not all of it good. I began reaching out to old friends from Landon and Prep to see if they recalled the same misogynistic culture that I did... In my memory, we tested and terrorized the female teachers with petty acts of harassment, such as collectively staring at an eighth-grade earth science teacher’s breasts or dropping our pencils in unison at a specific time in the middle of her class (a feat we did not repeat for any male instructors)... The reason I can recall only the names of my male teachers from that period is because the women usually didn’t stay long... “We definitely were terrible to the female teachers,” said Patrick Breen, a lifelong friend who is now a history professor at Providence College in Rhode Island. He remembered the middle-school Spanish teacher who felt angry and harassed when someone from my class put a jock strap on her dog, which she brought to school... A few of the male teachers contributed to this culture. One U.S. history teacher introduced us to women’s suffrage by calling on a student who was often unprepared for class and asking him to tell us all he knew about the movement. The student stuttered and stammered for a few seconds. “That’s enough,” the teacher declared with finality, in a way that made clear he was dispensing with the subject, not the student.
.. Friday morning announcements, usually delivered by a high school senior. “After the [football] game, there will be a mixer. Girls from Holy Cross, Holy Child and Visitation . . . will . . . be . . . available,” he remembered the announcer saying lasciviously. The joke, my friend said, was a part of daily life, accepted by teachers and students.
.. 1,000 Holton alumnae signed a letter in support of Ford. Her account of being attacked was “all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending Holton,” their letter said.
.. She recalled being shoved off the bleachers at a football game by one Landon student and thrown, fully clothed, into a swimming pool by another.
.. Several of her friends in recent days remembered Landon students driving past the Holton campus and screaming “beaver” from their car. “I hated it,” she told me by email, “but thought it was just normal.”
.. whether the culture of casual misogyny and heavy drinkingthat existed in the 1980s matters today.
.. One way for Kavanaugh to handle the accusations against him would be to admit some boorish behavior decades ago, and then use the rest of his life as an example to prove that he has risen above the toxic sexism and misogyny of his youth.
.. (This, of course, runs counter to President Trump’s advice, as recounted in Bob Woodward’s book “Fear,” about how to deal with such allegations. “You’ve got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women,” he is quoted as telling a friend. “If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead.”)
.. “I loved Landon but looking at it retrospectively through the lens of the father of two daughters, I would not consider sending my son there,” wrote Steve Pokorny
.. It erases the specific details of Christine Blasey Ford’s stated recollections with the soggy mop of generalized male entitlement.”
.. Ideas that we consider anachronistic today — about women, male entitlement, even what we now call rape culture — were not just common views of that era. They thrived at places like Georgetown Prep, which Kavanaugh, in his confirmation hearing, called “very formative.”
Three years ago, Kavanaugh jokingly said in a speech that “what happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep. That’s been a good thing for all of us.” Today a better accounting of what went on at places like Georgetown Prep might help us all see our flaws more clearly.
One reason class is receding in our public debates: The Trump years have, so far at least, done little for wage earners. Indeed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, real hourly wages overall droppedbetween July 2017 and July 2018, and they dropped for mid-wage workers, too. This is not at all the “winning” Trump promised... The core of Trump’s ideology, such as it is, has never been about class; his passion has always been for race, culture and immigration. Many post-election studies suggested that Trump’s voters were much more energized by these issues than by economics. Watch the typical Trump stump speech, and you will find that fear-mongering smothers any uplift and that falsehoods about immigrants outnumber truths about the challenges to middle-class living standards... while 8.6 percent of white workers were paid poverty wages in 2017, the figures were 19.2 percent for Hispanic workers and 14.3 percent for African American workers.