She was amazing under pressure.
Authentic, strong, yet visibly vulnerable.
As she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Christine Blasey Ford moved thousands of American women across the country to tears of recognition.
Her remarkably credible testimony that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers wasn’t just a pivotal moment in the country’s judicial history. It was a cultural monsoon for women and the sympathetic men who also raised their voices on social media and in Congress to tell Dr. Ford: I believe you. You’re a hero for coming forward and testifying as the whole world watches. You’re a patriot for doing, as she called it, “my civic duty.”
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
When asked how sure she was that the man who pinned her to a bed, who tried to rip her clothes off, and who put his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams was Kavanaugh, the research psychologist and professor had an unequivocal answer: “100 percent.”
This might have been the moment that finally changed the way women are treated in this country, as Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said she hoped.
But, unfortunately, all indications Thursday night were that, despite Ford’s poignant testimony and calls for an independent investigation from bodies like the American Bar Association, Republicans are moving ahead to confirm Kavanaugh.
It’s a shameful abuse of power.
It matters not to the GOP that two more women from his high school and college days – Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick – have come forward and also want to be heard. What are they afraid of? That more professional, believable women will give powerful testimony like Ford’s?
Interestingly, Judge Kavanaugh admitted he didn’t watch his accuser’s testimony. He was too busy preparing his own, he said. Bad call. He might have learned something of value about decorum, humanity, and poise under the strain of grief, questioning, and memories of two friends ambushing her and laughing at the expense of the 15-year-old they were assaulting.
In contrast to Blasey Ford’s measured responses and the careful manner with which she sought to stick to the facts, Kavanaugh was combative, partisan, defensive, and over-the-top emotional. What came through loud and clear was his sense of entitlement to the top justice post for which, he kept reminding us, he has worked all his life.
The unspoken line: How dare she railroad me? How dare senators question me about my beer drinking, a yearbook prank that demeaned another woman, and about the two other women who’ve come forward with more allegations that he was abusive when drunk?
There were no glorious moments for Kavanaugh, although we felt immense sadness for his daughters, his wife, and his parents. His anguish at putting them through this experience was real, no doubt.
But, who has the greater incentive to lie?
Not the woman who has been vilified by conservatives and whose family has had to twice relocate for safety reasons.
Not the woman who passed the lie detector test that GOP senators – and the prosecutor assigned to question her – picked apart but couldn’t invalidate.
Not the woman who was so willing to accommodate the people questioning her and humbly confessed: “I’m terrified.”
Had she kept quiet, Ford’s life would still be filled with the same anxieties of trauma survivors she so well described, but the good would have remain unchanged, foreign to this national turmoil.
The man vying with all he’s got for the most coveted job among jurists, however, is another story.
With his answers, Kavanaugh proved how disrespectful he can be to women.
When asked by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, who treated him with the utmost respect, if he had ever drank so much as to black out, Kavanaugh answered: “Have you?” He did this not once, but twice, forgetting that she’s not the one being accused of criminal acts.
He also was combative with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, who also questioned Kavanaugh about his beer drinking.
“Senator, what do you like to drink?”
It wasn’t exactly the comportment one expects from a Supreme Court justice – and he’s complaining about this vetting? He needs a whole lot more of it by the FBI, but he won’t get it. The president needs to make that call and he’s the tailor-made nominee for Donald Trump, who after the hearing victoriously praised his performance on Twitter.
“Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!”
In his remarks, Kavanaugh called his confirmation process “a national disgrace” that has put his family through hell.
But the national disgrace is Republicans and the president moving forward to confirm him despite unexamined accusations that he abused women in high school and college.
Ford’s testimony should have put the brakes on Kavanaugh’s fast-tracked ride to the highest court in the land.
But certain men in this country are still dismissing, discarding us – and getting away with it – even when the truth is right in front of them.
Kavanaugh may have been put through hell, but in the end, he’s getting the man pass.
Follow Santiago on Twitter, @fabiolasantiago