Much as I’m disinclined to frame anything in emotional terms, the fact is that it’s frustrating to see so many curious issues and questions and be unable to engage in a rational discussion about them without some deeply passionate partisan seizing the opportunity to make it all about Kavanaugh.
But it is, you say? Allow me to explain.
One of the most critical skills a lawyer possesses is to distinguish the issue from the case. To the unwashed, every issue that relates to the spectacle that’s absorbed so many of us is about whom you favor. You can’t separate the two. What possible reason is there in considering the question of what “boof” means if not to condemn Kavanaugh for lying about it?
Me: What does “boof” mean? I never heard the word before.
You: It means Kavanaugh is a lying sack of shit who deserves to die in a puddle of his own boof!!!
Too easy? Try this.
Me: Most of us have things in our high school yearbooks that would be embarrassing to explain three decades later. Do we really want this to become a normal source of inquiry?
You: Most of us don’t incriminate ourselves by drunken rape and then lie about it!!!
That’s fine for you, but does that mean I can’t ask the question without it being about how much you hate Kavanaugh? For example, one exceptionally emotional and controversial issue that came up is whether it’s a good tactic to have a witness weep when giving emotional testimony. Is it true of all witnesses? Is it true for a witness who happens to be a judge seeking elevation to the Supreme Court?
Certainly, these questions relate to Kavanaugh, to what happened at the hearing. But while they’re derived from the hearing, they’re not really about the hearing at all. The hearing may have given rise to the question, but the question exists independently.
Some will respond, Ford’s weepy opening is totally understandable, and anyone who questions the sincerity of her demeanor is literally Hitler. That may be, but that wasn’t the issue. Do we, as lawyers, now advise witnesses to cry, in contrast with all previously understood experience that it usually serves to undermine the witnesses credibility? Weepy witnesses aren’t just a Kavanaugh phenomenon, but happen all the time. Is it not a subject for discussion?
Similarly, I offered a pair of posts about the bizarre circumstances in which Mark Judge and Leland Ingham Keyser found themselves as a consequence of being named by Christine Ford. There were numerous comments left arguing over who was lying and telling the truth, which were summarily trashed because they bore no connection to my posts. It’s not that they weren’t tangentially related, or that the posts weren’t within the Kavanaugh debate, but they weren’t about who was the worst lying liar.
The problem is that these are issues worthy of discussion, at least as far as I’m concerned, but they devolve into the simplistic Kavanaugh circus. Is it too soon? Is it unreasonable to expect anyone to separate the issues from the emotional angst? Are we now doomed to the lowest common denominator of discussion, such that there is no longer a space where detached discussion is permissible?
How can these detached discussions be had when so many otherwise well-intended people can’t let go of their obsession with the larger problem of promoting their tribal view? Or is this no longer possible in the open air of the internet, where the most unduly passionate will invariably seize upon what make them outraged and it’s not permissible to separate the question from the personality, the means from the end?
I get it. You’re obsessed with these hearings, with your outrage over Trump, Kavanaugh and all the women who will either die or have their personal pain denigrated should he be confirmed. But that’s your obsession, not mine. It’s not that I don’t have my own views, but that I have the capacity and desire to put them aside to discuss issues without it being all about who sucks worst.
Are we no longer able to get beyond your feelings to discuss the underlying issues and questions when you’re a slave to your emotions?
*Tuesday Talk rules apply. I fully expect this post to generate some truly idiotic responses. I don’t know why I do this to myself.