In 1991, the Senate Judiciary Committee had an opportunity to demonstrate its appreciation for both the seriousness of sexual harassment claims and the need for public confidence in the character of a nominee to the Supreme Court. It failed on both counts.
As that same committee, on which sit some of the same members as nearly three decades ago, now moves forward with the Kavanaugh confirmation proceedings, the integrity of the court, the country’s commitment to addressing sexual violence as a matter of public interest, and the lives of the two principal witnesses who will be testifying hang in the balance.
.. the public expects better from our government than we got in 1991, when our representatives performed in ways that gave employers permission to mishandle workplace harassment complaints throughout the following decades.
.. That the Senate Judiciary Committee still lacks a protocol for vetting sexual harassment and assault claims that surface during a confirmation hearing suggests that the committee has learned little from the Thomas hearing, much less the more recent #MeToo movement.
.. To do better, the 2018 Senate Judiciary Committee must demonstrate a clear understanding that sexual violence is a social reality to which elected representatives must respond.
.. The details of what that process would look like should be guided by experts who have devoted their careers to understanding sexual violence.
.. Select a neutral investigative body with experience in sexual misconduct cases that will investigate the incident in question and present its findings to the committee. Outcomes in such investigations are more reliable and less likely to be perceived as tainted by partisanship. Senators must then rely on the investigators’ conclusions, along with advice from experts, to frame the questions they ask Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Blasey.
.. The investigators’ report should frame the hearing, not politics or myths about sexual assault.
.. Do not rush these hearings. Doing so would not only signal that sexual assault accusations are not important — hastily appraising this situation would very likely lead to facts being overlooked that are necessary for the Senate and the public to evaluate.
.. Process is important, but it cannot erase the difficulty of testifying on national television about the sexual assault that Dr. Blasey says occurred when she was 15 years old. Nor will it negate the fact that as she sits before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dr. Blasey will be outresourced. Encouraging letters from friends and strangers may help, but she cannot match the organized support that Judge Kavanaugh has.
The Souls of Poor Folk identifies the United States’ irrational attachment to war:
The massive U.S. defense budget has never actually been about “defense.” . . . Rather, their goals are to consolidate U.S. corporations’ control over oil, gas, other resources and pipelines; to supply the Pentagon with military bases and strategic territory to wage more wars; to maintain military dominance over any challenger(s); and to continue to provide justification for Washington’s multi-billion-dollar military industry. 
The Souls of Poor Folk: Auditing America 50 Years After the Poor People’s Campaign Challenged Racism, Poverty, the War Economy/Militarism and Our National Morality, https://www.
poorpeoplescampaign.org/audit/ , 11. See the report for detailed and well-researched data.
If you want peace, work for justice. —Pope Paul VI
.. the single biggest obstacle to the church’s mission and vision of peace with justice is the fact of the segregation of the poor/the oppressed/the exploited/the neglected/the stranger from the comfortable/the secure/the satisfied. The result is a divide that convinces the comfortable and secure that all is well and persuades the poor that there is no hope. . .
.. Regardless of what else we do, we must stay connected in some kind of face-to-face way with the persons and the places at risk. . . .
.. The second critical ingredient . . . is justice education. . . . The single most repeated phrase in the Gospels is [what] Jesus uses to describe the vision and focus of his ministry: the Reign of God. . . . This is the reign of
- compassion and
Jesus calls disciples to this vision. Is it fair to say that Jesus did not call disciples to follow him for the purpose of idolizing or honoring him? Rather, the reason to follow him is that he is pointing toward a new possibility—a holy possibility. . . .
.. for us to live as we live in this country, we need to dominate others so that they cannot use the limited resources that we want.
For students of color, guns in classrooms could be deadly.
How long would it be, if Trump’s plan became reality, before a teacher shoots a black student and then invokes the “I feared for my life” defense
.. Most high-profile mass shootings have been committed by white men, but metal detectors, school police and armed guards are disproportionately placed in public schools with majority black and other nonwhite students, along with locked gates, random sweeps, and a host of other surveillance and security measures to maintain control in their schools
.. Research shows that such practices foster hostile environments that have contributed to racial disparities in school suspensions, expulsions and arrests leading to the “school-to-prison pipeline,” by pushing more students of color out of school and into the juvenile justice system.
.. black students were disproportionately likely to be referred to school resource officers or arrested — they made up 16 percent of total enrollment but 27 percent of students referred to resource officers and 31 percent of students arrested in school-related matters.
.. White students, who were 51 percent of the total, accounted for only 41 percent of resource officer referrals and 39 percent of arrests.
.. “implicit bias” on the part of teachers often means young black males in schools are seen as “irresponsible, dishonest and dangerous.”
.. many teachers, especially young white women, are afraid of their black students.
.. white students are punished differently from their black counterparts for the same offenses.
.. “By playing into this armed teacher agenda, we are setting up our at-risk students, especially our black and brown students, as targets for the pipeline as well as actual physical targets of teachers’ bullets. It is insanity driven by greed, prejudice and privilege.”
.. “arming white teachers would be like trying to put out a fire with gasoline. In many cases, the little cultural nuances in black kids are often foreign to white teachers.
.. Black assertiveness is seen as black hostility to white teachers, as opposed to the teachers recognizing that it is a strength in the black student.
.. I fear that when black students stand up for themselves, white teachers will interpret that as the students attacking them.”
.. Davis also fears that any black or Latino teachers who carry weapons to “protect” students would wind up being shot by police during an active-shooter crisis in their schools.
.. Twitter, they used the #ArmMeWith hashtag to list more important priorities:
- smaller classrooms,
- improved textbooks,
- adequate supplies and
- more resources for students with challenges.
.. This is about protecting the narrative that white suburban schools are places of safety and preserving the idea that violence is elsewhere, that black and Latino youth represent danger.
.. “My biggest fear and disappointment is that I think many students and families of color would simply opt out of public education if arming teachers were to be enacted,”
.. The fear would be absolutely legitimate, but disengagement would further divide us so much further. It would lead to a setback like never before in the movements for civil rights and human rights.”