OPINION: Brett Kavanaugh and The Poisonousness of Partisanship

Should we not find it curiously suspicious that most opinions about the allegations of specific, localized events, that are alleged to have occurred decades ago (the allegations of sexual impropriety when Kavanaugh was in high school and college) just happen to divide up along party lines?

Could it possibly be a mere coincidence that Republicans believe Kavanaugh and Democrats believe Christine Blasey Ford, the Palo Alto University professor who made the allegations? Or is it almost certainly a broad partisan agenda that has shaped so many people’s opinion about something that isn’t political and has nothing to do with the fight between Democrats and Republicans?

This same phenomena – the two-party system’s reality distortion field – manifests in how we treat and what we think about individuals like Kavanaugh and Ford, and their disputes, on a disturbingly frequent basis. Remember the 2013 trial of George Zimmerman for shooting Trayvon Martin? Zimmerman claimed it was in self-defense while the prosecution asserted that he was a murderer.

Despite the fact that this was a very specific, localized event, that occurred between two individuals, with no witnesses – its own unique and very personal story – somehow whether someone thought Zimmerman or Martin was the predator (based on the same information!) could have been predicted by what political party they belonged to! As if a partisan’s stance on public policy has anything to do with the details of a specific event.

Millions of partisans in the US have managed to divide up along party lines even to decide the guilt or innocence of an individual for a crime they’re accused of committing. This is something that should terrify us all. It’s proof that blind partisanship causes people to devalue truth and justice in favor of political power — that partisanship corrupts our society’s integrity.

Believing either Kavanaugh or Ford is for many Republicans and Democrats a partisan-driven act, not a matter of a good faith investigation and genuine judgement. One need look no further than the presence of Juanita Broaddrick at the hearing to highlight the stark inconsistency in the Democrats’ current mantra, “Believe All Women.”

This is something that should terrify us all. It's proof that blind partisanship causes people to devalue truth and justice in favor of partisan power...

Leaving aside a number of critical problems with how this slogan is formulated, Democrats don’t even mean it, because they still haven’t believed Broaddrick’s allegations against Bill Clinton. So it’s not even a sincere, if critically flawed notion of jurisprudence. It’s a critically flawed and not-even-sincere expression of a notion of jurisprudence that is being used as a partisan weapon.

Partisanship has become so hyperbolic and irrational that it has left millions of partisan Americans thinking that any means necessary are acceptable to the ends of defeating their partisan opponents. If not even caring about the truth helps achieve those ends, partisans will consider it a justifiable means.

But the ends do not justify the means. The means are the ends in the making. And partisan politics is working furiously to make something terrible.

This article is in the opinion section of IVN, but it is an anti-opinion article. I am begging you not to have an opinion about Ford’s allegations. You don’t have to decide who to believe because you’re not on the Senate confirmation committee. Lucky you.

Please don’t allow partisan politics to addle your mind so badly that you feel you have to have an opinion on this (or even worse, that you’re qualified to have one) just because you’re a Republican or Democrat, or lean one way or the other.