The Right Fights For Might
I have a long list of reasons to oppose Kavanaugh wholly unrelated to the most recent accusation leveled against him, but I want to peel that off to use as an example of how not to respond to such charges and, after that, why we should be extremely leery of letting the current generation of right wingers anywhere near the seats of power for the rest of their lives.
#1: How To Not Shoot Yourself In The Foot
If my objective was to nullify a scandal like the one facing Kavanaugh -- i.e., a single accusation of wrong doing decades ago when he was a teenager -- I would suggest crafting a response along these lines:
“I want to go on record as categorically denying any memory or knowledge of the events and actions recounted in the accusation.
“However, since the accusation includes a report of heavy drinking on my part as well as others, I can’t state with absolute certainty that what has been reported didn’t actually happen.
“I may very well have been so intoxicated at that time as to not remember my actions.
“If I did indeed do what I’ve been accused of, then I humbly and sincerely apologize to the person I assaulted. I am having my representatives contact her representatives, and if she is willing I will attempt to set things right by her.
“As you all know from your own experiences, most teenagers do silly or stupid or even harmful things at some point in their adolescence.
“That is no excuse.
“However, like you, most teenagers grow and mature and wise up. We become better people because we remember not only our mistakes, but our misdeeds. We learn from our errors and the errors of others.
“We all have things in our past that we blush or cringe over. This accusation causes me great shame and sorrow at even the thought of having violated the rights and the trust of the victim.
“Again, I humbly and sincerely apologize. All I can say is that I have grown from that young adolescent, that I have learned the hard lessons we all need to learn in order to function as good neighbors and good citizens, and nothing else in my record reflects the behavior reported in the accusation.”
(Mind you, all this is contingent on the accused knowing full well there are no other shoes waiting to drop; they catch you lying at this point and you’re toast.)
#2: Why The Current Crop Is Crap
For the above to work, you need two things: An absolute certainty that there’s nothing else out there waiting to bite you on the ass, and a willingness to appear vulnerable in order to prove your innocence and sincerity.
You’re basically hanging yourself out there to dry. If Hoy Polloy and Lumpy Proletariat don’t buy it, the show’s over.
If they do, it can actually strengthen you.
Remember Bill Clinton acknowledged a premarital affair while running for president and convinced enough people he wouldn’t do it again to win the election.
Remember Jimmy Swaggart crying copious crocodile tears when he got caught hiring prostitutes to masturbate for him, begging his followers -- and more importantly, his donors -- to forgive him.
Remember Swaggart, the second time he was caught, basically telling everybody outside his cult, “Fnck you! It’s none of your business! I’ll do what I want! How dare you attack a man of God?”*
He knew who the suckers were and that they weren’t going to leave him, no matter how outrageous his behavior.
Most conservatives lean authoritarian, claiming to respect law and order and to hold individuals responsible for their actions, but the hard right brand of conservative embraces authoritarianism because it excuses them from moral and ethical culpability.
The hard right wingers repeatedly turn their backs on law and custom to blindly follow any strong leader who will absolve them of the guilt of their own nature.
“We were only following orders!” they wail when caught again and again and again with blood on their hands, greenbacks stuffed in their mattresses, and corpses stacked around them like firewood. “It’s not our fault! He made us do it!”
“He” is whatever bully they follow -- be it charismatic politician or a religious fanatic -- to enable their own bad behavior or cater to their prejudices.
The hard right likes to mock the self-criticisms of the left -- “Marxist dialectics” they sneer -- while failing to comprehend (or more likely, deliberately obfuscating) the point of such exercises, which is to “keep things real” by constantly challenging and reexamining ideas from many changing angles.
They decry this as postmodernism and “truth is relative” but the real truth is that the classical philosophers whom the hard right claims to admire taught this exact same principle and emphasized over and over and over again that one’s perception significantly altered one’s views, and that one need to constantly reexamine one’s own life and principles to make sure on stayed on course.
Small wonder the hard right loves the strong leader who says “Follow me! I’m never wrong and I’ll never make you wonder if you are!”
This is why the hard right, no matter how much to their advantage an alternate strategy may be, will never abandon their defiant winner-take-all attitude, nor will they ever concede defeat no matter how thoroughly rejected.
Without trivializing a very real, very serious crime, they are in effect rapists, and everything they espouse is solely to enable them to keep on dominating and domineering others.
They are bullies who never matured, never grew up.
© Buzz Dixon
*For the cheap seats, let the record show that I, Buzz Dixon, personally believe there is a divine entity responsible for this universe whom we humans commonly call God, but that God is not the malevolent mammon motivated monstrosity many modern evangelicals claim to worship.