I had pretty much concluded that Christine Blasey Ford was contemptible based on her willingness to impugn a public servant’s integrity, derail what should be an orderly and fair political process, and manipulate the U.S. Supreme Court’s membership using a three decades old allegation that involved, at worst, teenage misconduct. She did this with full knowledge of how #MeToo has unjustly harmed other men simply by raising unprovable rumors and characterizations. In fact, it seems clear that she chose her course of action knowing that she could harm Brett Kavanaugh the same way. If the allegation was politically motivated, as I strongly suspect it was, she is unethical and despicable. If the motive was late vengeance for a teenager’s indiscretion, she is unethical and despicable.
Imagine someone you may have harmed when you were an immature teen. That individual never calls you to account, privately or officially. She never urges you to apologize, accept responsibility, or make amends, or gives you an opportunity to do so. No, she maintains the grievance in escrow, to bring it out years or decades later when the accusation will not only do the most damage, but will also be impossible to defend against. What a cruel, horrible, inhuman way to treat anyone.
First Ford attempted to harm Kavanaugh anonymously. Then, when that wasn’t going to work, she announced her accusation in the news media.
What is being ignored by all those rationalizing Ford’s actions is that that the harm to alleged wrongdoers is magnified and multiplied the longer a victim delays calling for accountability. If Kavanaugh did what he is alleged to have done, he should still have the right to deal with the consequences, accept punishment if any, and be able to get on with his life, set a straight course, and prove his character and values as an adult. Wouldn’t anyone want that opportunity? Shouldn’t any 17-year-old miscreant have that opportunity? As I have already noted, Ford’s conduct is an anti-Golden Rule monstrosity.
It also creates the equivalent of ethics toxic waste. In a just society, nobody is pronounced guilty until guilt is proven, and nobody is publicly accused unless the offense is provable. A prosecutor who knows that there isn’t evidence to convict someone of an offense is violating prosecutoral ethics to bring charges. Ethically, the principles follow. If you cannot prove an accusation, if all you have is your word and nothing else, if there is no chance that any evidence will arise that supports your version of events, you must be, at very least, absolutely certain that you are correct. Ford cannot be 100% certain. Not after more than 30 years, and especially after a long period in which she says she had forgotten about the alleged episode. There are many, many memorable episodes in my life, and I have always had a remarkable memory for events I witnessed or took part in. Such memories, however, shift and blur over time. No 30 year-old memory is 100% reliable, and because we, well, those of us who are fair and honest, know that is true, no 30-year memory should be employed as a weapon or personal destruction. Ford’s memory is both destructive and impossible to defend against exactly because it is so old. Continue reading →