job interviews on the national stage, and broken societal standards

25 Sep

If you know me, you pretty much know that Bret Kavanagh and I are not particularly in line politically. All told, I’m not generally supportive of his nomination, though given the current administration, someone of his ideological stripe being nominated is pretty much par for the course. That said, in terms of his resume at least, he’s qualified for the position, which is enough to get you the interview.

Getting an interview, however, as any of us who’ve ever sought employment or promotion, doesn’t guarantee you the job, even if you’re a well-to-do conservative white guy with a prep-school, ivy-league pedigree, especially when the interview process turns up areas of concern, which, in the case of this guy, there’s definitely concern, even before the most recent headlines get considered; there are definite issues of integrity and trust to consider.

Kavanaugh’s statements the Fox interview he did Monday night kind of confirm that. In that interview, he characterized his high school and college self as a virginal Christian student-athlete. This does not correspond with the prevailing Georgetown Prep culture (as described by his friend’s memoir and other sources, like his high school yearbook), and certainly doesn’t agree with the allegations (up to three publicly at the time I write this) of his sexual misconduct in high school and college.

Now, we’ve all done things in our youth that we’d rather we hadn’t. Youthful indiscretions happen, and in many cases, given proper contritition and rehabilitative maturation, don’t reflect the adult version of ourselves (a great contemporaneous example is congressional candidate Beto O’Rourke in Texas, who’s up-front about his history, and his ability to overcome it, and how it doesn’t reflect who he is today), and wouldn’t, in most cases, reflect on our present-day suitability for a given position.

That, however, doesn’t appear to be the default position of white republican men in our country, which is a shame. Kavanaugh, by doubling down on the denials of any instance of behavior of the sort he’s been accused of, especially when given the various permutations of defensive strategies leveraged on his behalf by fellow rich white conservative men, ranging from flat denials to vast conspiracies involving mistaken identity and maps of MD houses downloaded from zillow dot com to (most concerningly) justification and normalization of sexual assault/attempted rape as normal “boys will be boys” behavior leading to acceptance of such things, is, frankly, of great concern regarding the Judge’s suitability, and a severe defect in our culture that such a thing is considered acceptable.

Which leads me to the political cartoon I’ve shared above.

The cartoon, by Mike Smith, which appeared in the Las Vegas Sun on September 20, has been making the rounds on social media, and really gets right to the heart of what I think is actually the most important issue here, that, as a society, large swaths of us here in America continue to believe the double-standard that sexual assualt/harassment/rape/whatever, is, variously, a thing that men aren’t really responsible for, and that sort of behavior is, at best, youthful hijinx, and at worst, the fault of the female victim.

This, frankly, is ridiculous. Why we as a country continue to perpetuate the “well, she must have been asking for it” business, and excuse men who engage in such things (and frankly, *most* of us have no problem not sexually assualting people, and in fact, often worry that we’d ever inadvertently make anyone feel offended, uncomfortable, or threatened in that, or any other manner, and if we did, we offer unconditional apologies and would like any advice to avoid such things in the future) is completely unfathomable to me. I just can’t get behind it, and it really bugs me that this is a kind of thing that continues to happen on the public stage, in our government, in 2018, where we should all know better.

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