The fires that have raged over Brett Kavanaugh and his suitability to be a Supreme Court judge have subsided since his confirmation on Saturday, but the embers smoulder, ready to reignite over his name, another name or over nothing. A wildfire is burning over swathes of the United States, and it threatens to be fiercer still in time to come.
The scenes televised across the world last week were extraordinary and disturbing, as protestors swarmed through the Capitol, the seat of government, seeking out and mobbing the senators who supported Kavanaugh, or who were wavering. They had the right to express their views, but often it was not peaceful, and it was not kind to send death threats to the families of those they were seeking to influence, or stop. Many of the women were protesting about sexual abuse, sometimes their own, sometimes that of all women including Christine Ford, the accuser of Kavanaugh, but they failed to see that their own actions at times were abusive in themselves. Much distress has been caused to many through blanket judgment and indiscriminate targeting – from men, as well as women, and on all sides of the political argument.
When the accusations of attempted rape against Brett Kavenaugh were found to be without any corroborative evidence, attention turned to his past as a student, and if it made him likely to be an abuser, or unsuitable to be a judge in the Supreme Court. I do not know how much he drank in his youth, but I know that many of my greatest lessons came from when I was growing up and learning about life, and that it is the same for many people. We make mistakes, we learn and hopefully move on, the better for it. I have heard Kavenaugh condemned for his conduct as a teenager by people who now are respected and valued members of their community, but who themselves had addiction and other problems in their past: is it fair to judge a man and find him wanting in this way, when we ourselves have made many mistakes too?
I do not know Brett Kavanagh and I do not uphold his politics or judicial approach – how he acts as a Supreme Court judge is yet to be seen. I defend fairness and justice, I defend kindness and compassion, I defend good intention and forgiveness. Here, politics and causes have been used by some as weapons, thoughtlessly or care-lessly, to manipulate public opinion and to vent emotion over past wrongs and potential future change, and lives have been hurt a result. Passion and action are important, but let them be used wisely, and consciously for the greater good.
The embers of anger smoulder still. They will be stoked again, and the great divide that is in America and many parts of the world, the divide between bitter partisan politics, between men and women, between black and white, between rich and poor, between liberalism and conservatism, between the past and the future, will express itself once again in a torrent of expression that may prove deadly. Then it will stop, and we will move on.
Brett Kavanaugh has been a catalyst for change, in more ways than one. The firestorm that has been created in his name reminds me that the time is coming when the world will look outwards not inwards, and spirituality based on loving reason will prevail. It is not so far away.