American Politics: One Big Fraternity
After a weekend of protest, heartbreak and further polarisation we wanted to take a moment to decompress what this historic Supreme Court confirmation means.
Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court hearing captivated the United States and the World. It’s was tainted with allegations of partisanship, purposeful concealment and backroom alliances to protect the President. Then came the bombshell – charges of sexual assault from not one but three women.
If proven this would have undoubtedly disqualified Kavanaugh from sitting on the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegations and accused the Democrats of orchestrating a smear campaign.
Listening to Christine Blasey Ford's testimony was heartbreaking. She was an unwilling participant to the spectacle and spoke with wisdom, grace and compassion – notable traits missing from the doubters of her story.
The country listened, and so did the world. Ford spoke about being pushed into a room and locked in there with two boys, one of them Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh allegedly pinned her down and tried to take off her clothes. She spoke of her fear as he put his hand over mouth – thinking he might accidentally kill her.
Coming forward was brave. She saw it was her civic duty. She had little to gain and a lot to lose. Democrats and even Republicans were moved by her testimony. Both sides applauded her willingness to share her story. There were many ways to summerise the feelings about her account – devastating, painful, traumatic – but describing the post-testimony feeling as “a very scary time for young men in America” would be laughable if it wasn’t coming from the President of the United States.
This response from the President provides a dark insight into the current state of America. The President detracted from the real victim here, Ford, and somehow put the sympathy spotlight on the perpetrators of these crimes – young men.
It seems the men (and women) in power aren’t a political party but rather a fraternity. A ride or die family with sheds and swords. The word itself comes from the Latin word Frater which means “brother”. It’s this sense of unchecked brotherhood that has victims facing not one man, but an entire pack. Accusations are met with “we know this man, he is one of us, we will protect him."
These wolves ripped at Ford’s once more, accusing her of being a pawn in a political game. They saw her as a weapon and in turn used warfare against her. She was mocked, dismissed and ultimately ignored.
Fraternities are bad – they foster hypermasculinity and a sense of protection that is unfounded and unchecked. They are often exclusionary, and it’s no surprise minorities and women aren’t let in. Fraternities create a rape culture were men encourage the perpetrators and intermediate the victims.
The messages the Republican Fraternity has sent to the world are simple: feel bad or us, we are the victim and don't try and stop us, it won't work.
What can we possibly say back?
Preview image source: www.nytimes.com