It has been raining here for days, weeks now really. It feels like a deluge, like something has broken, and the safety guards and gauges and pressure valves went wonky. They don’t work anymore.
I got the kids off to school and saw on Facebook that a dear friend and Holton-Arms alum was at the Senate building before the sun rose. She was waiting with other alums and friends in the hopes of witnessing Dr. Ford’s testimony and offering support. She posted a picture of current Holton seniors, young, in their uniforms, smiling earnestly and hopefully. In one I spotted one of the boys’ favorite babysitters. My heart burst with pride.
I went to Pilates shortly after. I didn’t feel like it what with the hearings looming, but I went to distract and also take care of myself. And because studio 2 on Thursday mornings feels like a mostly-warm community in which many of us have known each other for years. I walked in and could tell my teacher felt the weight of today. I saw an older friend who said she had a terribly sleepless night; she was thinking back to Anita Hill and forward to now.
Our teacher asked, “How are bodies today?” One woman started crying; another could barely contain her fury. Comments starting bursting forth despite the setting and place and time. Soon, a group hug commenced, men and women alike, ages 40-something to seventy-something. And then we attempted to turn our fury and fear to our cores.
Once home, one of my dearest friends came over, and we sat rapt and hurting and stunned and furious and nauseous. And also deeply moved by Dr. Ford’s incredible grace, courage, and earnest desire to help in any way with anything. I have no idea how she comported herself like that. At times it seemed to take everything she had while at others her composure seemed it must be some innate gift.
When she cried, it was silent and composed, measured, and heartbreaking to watch. So many of us cried with her, for her.
We cried that the GOP men were too cowardly to speak to her and so hired a “female assistant” to do.
We cried when Grassley repeatedly referred to Dr. Ford as “she," “her,” and “you.” She, her, you have a name.
We cried when she told us about her house having two front doors (so that she doesn’t feel trapped) even though that means “Our house doesn't look aesthetically pleasing from the curb.”
We cried when Leahy asked what she most remembered, and she replied that seared into her hippocampus is “the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense…”
We cried when she said “I convinced myself that because Brett did not rape me, I should just forget about it and move on." We cried because we know the weight she has carried since that night.
We cried because we weren’t sure anything she said would change anything. We cried because women aren’t disposable doormats but are too often treated as pitiful lesser beings who should “get over it.”
We cried because it is inconceivable that she is lying.
We cried because after her testimony, Senator Orrin Hatch said Dr. Ford was “attractive.”
And then there was Brett. The smug, whiny, furious, spitting nails picture of privilege who played victim in the most grandiose and despicable of ways. The nominee to the highest court in the land who is supposed to be non-partisan but blamed everything angrily and openly on the Democrats and our continued fury about the Clintons and Trump.
He cried, he yelled, he interrupted, he accused. He did things that would have had a woman literally removed from the room or at least wholly discounted and laughed at. He said he was a victim, that what he has been through recently has been hell, that he was innocent, that every claim against him was nonsense, garbage. He said he would do anything to assist the judiciary committee but refuses to support an FBI investigation or hearing from his old blackout-drunk drinking buddy, Mark Judge. He is a man used to getting his way, and his anger was palpable whether you were in the hearing room or on a couch somewhere.
The Republican senators gnashed and cried with outrage and apology. “You shouldn’t be treated like this.” “You’re the one owed an apology.” You’re the victim, you are great, and on and on. They dismissed the “female assistant” and carried on as an old boys club of epic white proportion. If they had heard Dr. Ford, heard her at all, her story was now gone, replaced by a country club bad boy who has lied repeatedly and wants power. They all do. They are willing to self-immolate for it. Lindsey Graham was the scariest example of that, screaming with fury and disgust at his Democrat colleagues.
Tonight I went to middle school Back to School Night. I saw so many friends, I felt grateful for the community. To a T the women looked drawn, exhausted, broken, furious, defeated. I’m home now and it is pouring. The world feels broken and as if it’s crying out in pain.
Senator Corker has already said tonight that he’s voting for Kavanaugh. The confirmation seems a foregone conclusion. What does that say to women? About our value and worth? What does it say to victims of assault and mistreatment? What does it say to boys and men who mistreat? What does it say about the impartiality of the Supreme Court? What does it say about the future of America? Nothing good. I am so unbelievably angry.