Point of View Columns

I Am White Man – Hear Me Roar

Having watched the Ford-Kavanaugh hearings last week some facts can be gleaned from the Circus Maximus-like event. First, and probably foremost, the vociferous supporters of Brett Kavanaugh said that he was “bold” and “passionate” and “courageous” in his boisterous, bellicose and belligerent attack on the Democratic senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee. And it is a fact that if Ellen Kagan or Sonia Sotomayor had trotted out heir angry white man imitation they would have been castigated for being hysterical, unhinged and certainly unfit to hold a lifetime seat on the United States Supreme Court.

However, given the fact that the Senate Judiciary Committee is dominated by white males who seem to have stumbled out of some antediluvian American nightmare, there is very little chance of Kavanaugh being sanctioned and the chance of him not being confirmed by the Teapublican-led Senate is microscopic at best.

Nevertheless, it is useful to consider what the nation witnessed when Kavanaugh went into his epic rant last week. Somehow, some way, someone convinced him that going ballistic was a useful strategy for someone who was ostensibly in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee as a presidential nominee for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States. Instead, he came across as being unqualified to even serve on a kangaroo court or as a backup to Judge Judy and raised real questions as to what the hell he was doing serving a federal judge on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States in the first place.

What the world witnessed was the primal scream of the privileged and entitled American White Male. The frustration that Kavanaugh expressed was clear – he clearly stated that he had checked all the White Male boxes – he went to Yale (twice, no less), he went to Georgetown Prep, he played sports, he “busted his tail” and was a husband and a father. Whatever missteps in his behavior that might have taken place were beside the point, “a joke” as Kavanaugh so eloquently stated.

What the world also witnessed is the very obvious revelation of who Brett Kavanaugh is. It is axiomatic that everyone is likeable, poised and engaging when they are being praised. Response to praise and privilege is not a useful indication of the person. We truly find out who we are in times of adversity – when we are not being praised, when we are being closely questioned or even attacked. The man or woman who can keep their poise during trying times is the person with inner strength and fortitude. Brett Kavanaugh showed himself to be sorely lacking when it comes to these qualities, that much is clear.

What is also clear, as evidenced by the unconditional support that has been expressed by most Teapublican members of the Senate is that sense of entitlement and privilege is supposed to make the American White Male invulnerable and untouchable when it comes to questioning his behavior, deportment or character. The #MeToo movement has made a dent in his ivory armor, but there should be no doubt that the era of the Angry White Male is upon us – just look at the 2016 presidential election, just look at the Trump “base”, just look at Brett Kavanaugh.

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