Last weekend, I got to spend some real quality time with Uncle Earl, my crusty but lovable curmudgeon of a relative who always seems to be able to say the things that I cannot. Almost like a literary device.
We were over at one of the rental properties hacking down some evil oleander bushes (did you know those things are poisonous?) when the conversation turned to politics. As usual.
“Steven, I really enjoyed your column last week on the #MeToo problems at CBS,” he started. “I liked your proposal about finding a way to verify a victim’s claims without making them more of a victim.”
“Thanks, Unk. I got some really good feedback from some folks.”
And I really did.
“But now, it’s time to ‘put your money where your mouth is.’ Or, ‘put up or shut up.’” He had an odd grin on his face.
“What are you talking about, Earl?” I got a little of that oleander juice in a cut. It itches and it stings. I hate oleanders.
His eyes focused in on me. “Why, the confirmation hearings on Judge Kavanaugh, of course! A lady has come forward accusing him of sexual misconduct when he was a youth. Let’s see if your suggestions hold water!”
For those unaware, a letter detailing what appears to be an attempted rape of a 15-year-old girl by Kavanaugh when he was 17 years old was given to Congress during the confirmation process. The alleged victim has come forward and will be testifying to the judiciary committee on Monday (as of this writing).
“OK. I’m game,” I countered. “My first requirement was a polygraph to be administered to both parties so that the victim did not have to testify in open court.”
“My boy, that did not come together in this case. The victim supposedly did take a polygraph and passed but Kavanaugh did not submit to the test. Also, she has elected to testify directly so has waived her proposed right to be protected from direct questioning.”
Earl was right. No way to protect the victim if she does not want the protection.
I went on, “My second requirement was a plurality of victims. There must be three victims who will assert that the offender has exhibited a pattern of behavior.”
“Strike two, Steven,” he retorted. “The victim in this case is alone. Apparently, there is a letter signed by about 65 of Kavanaugh’s female high school classmates that attests to his character. To date, no other corroborating story has surfaced regarding behavior that would be #MeToo worthy.”
“Dang, I see what you are saying, Unk.”
Earl was on a roll. “And, I’ll give you a third strike. There was a witness. The victim claims that there was another boy in the room — and he denies any knowledge of the event and has even been quoted as saying the charge is ‘crazy.’ And, of course, Kavanaugh claims he did not commit the act but was also not present at the party.”
It was hard to escape his logic. But I tried. “Isn’t it wrong for us to continue this paradigm of allowing powerful men to get away with this terrible behavior?”
I also thought, why do people landscape with oleanders if they are so deadly?
“I agree, Steven, but that does not seem to apply in this case. The act, if true, is horrible. But proving it happened will be exceedingly difficult. This was about 30 years ago. There is no documentation, video evidence, or anything. Just one person’s memory.”
“Apparently, alcohol was also involved,” he continued. “When asked about whether she had been drinking, the victim became evasive. If she had been drinking, her recollection of the night in question could be distorted or even completely wrong. Kavanaugh may not have even been there.”
Side-note to SCV parents who allow alcohol at teen parties: Shame on you. See what kind of a mess you can make?
Earl went on, “Further, it happened when these people were minors. Heaven help us if everything about our teenage exploits became public. No one would ever be able to get a job. Age does not excuse criminal behavior. But it is certainly a mitigating factor.”
“I see what you are saying, Unk. My guidelines may not apply in this case. Also, it appears that there is far more politics involved in this situation than simply a case of potentially criminal behavior.”
As the last of the oleander fell to the ground, I realized that there is the bottom line. Politics may prevent a fair evaluation of the incident and prevent a good man from becoming a Supreme Court Justice.
Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita and hereby nominates himself for the open justice slot if Kavanaugh falls through. Oh, wait. Bad idea. He can be reached at [email protected]