Even young children are aware of what is fair and what isn’t … and boy, they’ll let you know about it. Heck, even the animals know about fairness. As a teenager, a primitive form of animal life to be sure, I remember coming home from my first day at high school and telling my long-suffering mother, “Mom, high school isn’t fair!”
And what did that wise woman answer?
“Who ever told you that life is fair?”
Agreed, it isn’t … but we have put into place an entire range of laws and customs to make it fairer. And chief among them is the American law that says we are all innocent until proven guilty, the “presumption of innocence”.
This assumption is not just in the courts, it is in all parts of our lives—schools, jobs, meetings, everywhere.
This assumption is one of few defenses that we have against false accusations. Most folks likely haven’t been falsely accused of a felony in their lives … but I seem to be the guy blessed by experiencing a host of oddball things that others got to miss.
This one started out on a lovely sunny day in about 1969 in Santa Cruz, California. I drove into town, parked by the beach, and walked through the Boardwalk. It’s a riot of sound and color, plus that known attractant for a young victim of testosterone poisoning … young women. I walked and marveled, feeling like a total rube.
So I walked the full length of the beach. And when I was walking back from the Boardwalk, to my surprise, a police car pulled up alongside me and told me to stop right there.
He got out of the car and started to question me. Where was I from? San Francisco. Where was I going? LA. Where was I staying? Wherever night fell. How did I get to the beach? My car. Where was my car? A couple blocks further on.
About that time, a taxi pulled up alongside the police car. The policeman said, “Is this the man you saw breaking into the parked cars?”
“Parked cars”, I thought? “Breaking in”? Whaaa? … it began to dawn on me that I was in serious trouble.
The taxi driver got out. He walked around me, studying me intently.
“That’s him,” he said.
“Are you sure?”, the policeman asked.
“100% sure”, the driver said, “That’s the guy I saw taking things from cars. No question.”
I was mystified. Foolishly, I’d always believed that eyewitnesses were reliable. But I’d been checking out the babes at the Boardwalk, not breaking into cars.
And now, here was some guy I’d never seen saying he was sure that I was a thief. A common thief!
I gotta say, at that point, I almost lost my judicial temperament and tried to rearrange the taxi driver’s facial molecules … a wave of rage broke over me, and it was only the presence of the policeman that kept me from threatening the driver with unpleasant alternatives. Alternatives like “Admit you’re not telling the truth or I’ll smash you so flat you’ll have to unlace your shoes to take a piss!”, with various bad words thrown in for flavor.
With great effort, I restrained myself from saying bad words. I pasted some totally bogus smile on my features and denied that I was the thief. The officer said “Let’s go look at your car.” I said fine, and we walked to where I’d parked. There, he had me empty my pockets. He patted me down. Nothing. He turned to the car.
Now, at the time I was driving an MG Midget, one of the smallest cars of that era.
So it didn’t take the officer long to search the car. He checked the glove box, the door pockets, and under the seats. Then he took everything out of the trunk one at a time and examined it.
He took out my guitar and shook it, and when it rattled he was convinced he’d found something. He couldn’t see what it was, though … so he handed me the guitar. I shook it in that certain way guitarists know and out fell … a guitar pick.
Then he found my bag of white powder. At this point, I’m sure visions of busting a drug kingpin were floating through his head. He tasted it and frowned. Sweet, not bitter … huh?
I told him it was the powdered milk for my coffee.
Finally, once everything was out of the trunk, he gave up. He didn’t apologize, nor should he have. It was on the taxi man, not on him. He told me to drive safely. And somewhere in there, the taxi driver had driven off and I hadn’t even noticed.
So I was left there, so furious I could barely see straight, with no one to lash out at. Frustrated? You bet. I wanted the taxi man to come back so I could tell him what I really thought of him. My brain was flashing “UNFAIR! UNFAIR! UNFAIR!” in big red neon letters …
Now, I bring this up because the memory of all of this came flooding over me as I watched Judge Kavanaugh get angry at his tormentors on the Judicial Committee. For the first time in my life I thought “Man, I got off easy. I didn’t have a wife and two daughters getting death threats. I wasn’t accused on nationwide TV and every newspaper on the planet. And I wasn’t accused of a sexual crime, just garden variety robbery. I’m a lucky man!”
And perhaps because I’d been through a very minor version of what the Judge has endured, I understood his anger perfectly. In fact, I was surprised and impressed that he wasn’t angrier. I can’t imagine what he’s been through. And I was overjoyed that he’d actually gotten angry and called out the sham proceeding for what it was—attempted character assassination.
Now, since he gave his impassioned speech, the case against him has been shown to be totally bogus. Even Dr. Ford’s longtime friend says she has no memory of Dr. Fords claims, and that she never met Kavanaugh. And the other claimed participants have said the same, all under penalty of perjury. There’s not one scrap of evidence or testimony that supports her claim.
In fact, at this point Sasquatch has more witnesses than Dr. Ford has …
Now, in a sane world that would have been the end of it. But nooo … I’ve been astounded at how fast the accusation from the Democrats has seamlessly morphed from:
“Judge Kavanaugh is disqualified because he’s a serial gang-rapist!”
“Judge Kavanaugh is disqualified because he got angry when we falsely accused him on nationwide TV of being a serial gang rapist!”
This is the modern version of the Salem witch-finding procedure—throw the witch in the water, and if she floats, it proves she’s a witch …
Or as we practice it today, falsely accuse someone of being a heinous sexual criminal, and if they get angry, they’re obviously not qualified …
Here’s what I say about this. If I had to endure what Judge Kavanaugh has gone through, the threats, the bogus media articles, the leaks, the accusations from Senators, the fact-free rabid claims of guilt, I can assure you that I would not have been anywhere near as calm as he was. I know what it’s like to be falsely accused, and I can assure you—it angrifies the blood mightily …
And if you do NOT get angry when you are falsely accused of being a serial gang rapist, I do not want you to be a judge of anything. Anyone who doesn’t get angry in that situation is a damn robot, and I don’t want them anywhere near a position of power of any kind.
All I can say is, I greatly hope he gets confirmed. Oh, and one more thing.
If y’all truly think he doesn’t have the “judicial temperament”, how about you come up with some real evidence from his thirteen years on the bench that backs up your fact-free claim? Y’all remember evidence, right? It’s part of the way that we make the world a fairer place—we require evidence, not just accusations. If he’s too angry or too prejudiced as you claim, surely you can provide us with some evidence of that, it would have surfaced at some point during his time on the bench.
I’ll wait … and while we are waiting, we can consider the wise words of John Adams, who somehow saw into the future far enough to discern the real issue underlying the Kavanaugh farrago …
Here, sunshine after rain, sunshine smiling on the surrounding forest greenery, sunshine that reminds me that despite our worst efforts, the earth abides …
My best to you all,