Bullies, the Supreme Court, and Defense
I dreamed of sitting on the Supreme Court. When I went to American University for its Washington Semester program, everyone in the room wanted to become President. I wanted to become Earl Warren.
I had previously taken a survey of constitutional law class at Ripon College with my roommate and a professor who taught it out of her home. Only two of us cared. He was a conservative Republican and I was the raving lunatic. I fell in love with Justice Douglas, who I have used as the patron saint of this website. I then fell in love with Justices Brandeis, Brennan, and Blackmun.
But I have an affinity for the Court. Even justices that I disagreed with their outcomes, I loved the idea of this tribunal that could issue rulings about laws, regulations, and policies from anywhere in the country. They have never been perfect people. Many, including Justice Douglas, had very disrespectful private lives. But most of their decisions would affect thousands of Americans and they would never really know. Their personalities matter.I never fell for the lower-case democratic ideals of America. I liked the ruling class. But today, I don’t know anymore.
Kavanaugh’s High School Reunion
Judge Brett Kavanaugh has “been put through the ringer.” The pictures that have been established about him surround his youth and his predilection for salacious details into President Clinton. Neither paint a picture of someone who works for an ideal. He looks like an opportunist who tries to fit into whatever group he wants.
Four women at this point have stories about him actively assaulting them or being present when they are assaulted. His yearbook comes across as misogynist and exactly what most people hate about high school. His denials of drunken youth only brought out stories about what a young man he was.
We have all met that guy. And in many cases, we are that guy. We try to fit in and do things we later regret. I never went to any high school parties and I never tried to attend any. Even in college, I spent most of my Saturday nights watching TV alone. I didn’t get drunk; I definitely didn’t act inappropriately with women; and I don’t think anyone would have any fun stories to tell about me that would not revolve around wordplay or video games. But I remember seeing people from high school while home for vacations and no longer recognizing them.
And many people get to leave high school behind. Dr. Ford does not get to. She still became a successful professional and human being. She allegedly was sexually assaulted by a man who sits votes away from the highest court in the land. Yet, she is the one on trial.
We need to stop forcing those bullied, those assaulted, and those destroyed by actions of other people to have to be the defenders. I’ve written before about the bullying I experienced and how it affected my life. People are cruel and I am sure their cruelty did not define the rest of their lives. But it did define mine.
Bye Bye Birdie
In sixth grade, I got cast as Harvey Johnson. I thought it was funny and I looked forward to it. But I joined the play in hopes to make some friends.
To my surprise, several women, who would easily be classified as beautiful and popular, befriended me. As a naive boy, I thought they liked me. And I became part of their little group during practices and rehearsals. It did not change my day-to-day operations. I did not go to any parties or have different weekend plans. But it made play practice a little more fun compared to the rest of my day where people generally teased me.
The play took place in May and it went well. I did the nerd character well. And I felt it accomplished what I needed: I made a few new connections.
And then they signed my yearbook. They found me almost immediately when we got them. Each wrote a separate love note to me and told other people about them
People would flip through it and find the notes. People would tease me for thinking that the would think I was cute. They would mock me having the notes. And as I do today, I blush easily.
I crossed out all of the messages when I saw one of them laughing at me. I didn’t try out for the musical the next year.