We have come so far, in so many ways, in American society when it comes to dealing with sexual assault.
We have spent billions of dollars to change laws that take domestic violence more seriously, that penalize rapists, that make men everywhere in every state aware that “no means no” and that it is absolutely positively not OK to take advantage of a woman for your own sexual gain.
Things are so, so much better than they were 30-40 years ago, it seems; we see things like the #MeToo movement and the epic career falls of media titans like Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, Charlie Rose, Les Moonves, and so many others, and it really does feel like we’re making progress.
But then, this Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination comes about, and a reputable doctor named Christine Blasey Ford makes an accusation against the judge, and we see how far, very far we still have to go.
Dr. Ford has been harassed, received death threats, and had to go into hiding because she had the nerve to anger Republican voters and Senators so bloodthirsty for a Supreme Court majority. She has been given ridiculous deadlines by Chuck Grassley and other GOP lawmakers, and for a week she’s stood alone. (Isn’t it interesting how Republican lawmakers and voters were so willing to believe those accusing Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton, by the way, but no so much those accusing Kavanaugh?)
Now, though, Dr. Ford is not alone anymore. Another woman, Deborah Ramirez, told The New Yorker in a story published Sunday that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party at Yale. And I have little doubt there will be more stories coming out.
How far do we still have to go? I also read two devastating, but important stories of rape victims whose pleas and cries went ignored for too long; this phenomenal Washington Post story from Liz Bruenig about a girl named Amber Wyatt, raped in 2006 in Arlington, Tex., by two high school classmates, and the shame and horror her life became when the town turned against her.
And this first-person account from The Atlantic by Deborah Kopaken about a woman reaching out to her rapist, 30 years after fact.
Let this paragraph from The New Yorker story about Ramirez tell you all you need to know about the current Republican party:
“Senior Republican staffers also learned of the allegation last week and, in conversations with The New Yorker, expressed concern about its potential impact on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Soon after, Senate Republicans issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote.”
I mean… are you freaking kidding me???? There’s a second allegation of sexual misconduct against a man we want to serve a LIFETIME appointment on the highest court in the land. Let’s hurry up and get him confirmed!”
We’ve come so far. But we have so, so much further to go.
**Next up today, it’s getting close to Election Day and of course things are getting kooky and nuts and a little weird, as they do every election cycle. I love reporting on fabulous TV ads, bizarre candidate statements, and incredibly obscure Congressional races suddenly getting interesting because of something strange happening.
Well, something strange has happened with a race involving Paul Gosar, Representative of Arizona’s 4th District and a very, very right-wing Republican.
Gosar’s opponent, David Brill, has a new TV commercial ad, and it stars… six of Gosar’s siblings, all denouncing him and saying Brill should be the winner of this race.
Yes, seriously. Gosar’s siblings all speak out in the ad against their brother, and for Dr. Brill. In interviews about the ad with The Washington Post, the siblings spoke out further.
There isn’t a kooky, crazy, nutty thing that he isn’t a part of,” David Gosar said. “What are we supposed to do?”
**Finally today, a few NFL Week 3 thoughts, where we saw a Chiefs quarterback continue his astonishing start to his pro career, a stunning result in Minnesota, and are the Dolphins actually good?
— Gotta start with another remarkable game from Patrick Mahomes, who in three NFL starts now has thrown 13 (thirteen!) touchdown passes in leading the Chiefs to a 3-0 start. Wow is this kid on fire. I don’t know how good the Chiefs are on defense, but if this Mahomes kid keeps making plays like the one above that he made Sunday, they’re going to the Super Bowl.
— The Miami Dolphins are 3-0. No, really, the Dolphins are 3-0! Kind of hard to believe, since they’ve been so mediocre to bad for so long. But the franchise that gave us Don Shula and Larry Csonka are in first place in the AFC East. Are they any good? I don’t know. They’ve beaten my putrid Jets and the equally awful Raiders the last two weeks, so maybe they’re undefeated as a product of the schedule. But they look pretty darn good so far.
— Everyone who had Josh Allen, in his second pro start, going on the road at NFC superpower Minnesota and dominating, raise your hands. Now, Mr. and Mrs. Allen, please put your hands down. Good, that leaves zero hands up.
Wow. Who saw the Bills putting a beatdown on the Vikes coming? Reason No. 4,523 I never, ever bet on sporting events.
— And hey, the Giants won a game, too! Eli Manning showed that when he gets protection, he can still sling it a little. And Saquan Barkley is the real deal.
— The Patriots are 1-2 and looked horrific against the hapless Lions Sunday night. It was so bad that longtime friend of the blog and big New England fan Matt M. emailed me to say “it looks like the Patriots’ run is over.”
Wow. Not so fast will I believe that. I’ve counted out Brady and Belichick way too often over the years. They’ll still finish 12-4, count on it.
— Finally, a word of appreciation for Drew Brees, who led the Saints to a thrilling 43-37 win over the Falcons (by the way, can those two teams play 6-7 times per year against each other? Every time they play it’s a nail-biter). This quarterback, Brees, has been playing at this unbelievable level for 13 years, won a Super Bowl, helped resurrect a city after Katrina, and still I feel he’s underappreciated.
He’s going to go down as one of the 10 greatest QB’s to ever play, and he’s played with class and grace for so long. He’ll be sorely missed when he eventually retires.