My head has been spinning for weeks (months/years) now, watching the deterioration of our democratic parties/processes. It’s not fear. I am not afraid. A perk of faith, knowing the worldly power structure at play is not the final authority. It’s more like a holy unrest, leaving me uncertain as to my role in how to proceed.
Not quite 2 decades ago, there existed a fiercely insecure freshman in college. You wouldn’t know it by looking at me. I was outgoing and effervescent, even more so with a few drinks in me to quell the storm within and quiet the voices that screamed of what I lacked, what I could never be. I will never forget the few salient points around a couple situations I found myself in. The burst of adrenaline bringing clarity to everything in an instant was only experienced by one of us in those rooms on those varying occasions. I can all but guarantee if I reached out to the individuals, whom I could name or pick-out of a line up with 100% certainty, they would be utterly SHOCKED by my accusations. I was likely not a memorable experience for them.
I believe her. A moment she will never forget, though details fade and become fuzzy with time, the clarity and conviction that remains around the salient points testifies on her behalf, as does the courage to come forward with absolutely nothing to gain.
I also believe that he, nor anyone associated with the event in question, would remember to the degree it is etched within her mind…. or possibly even at all some three decades later. She was not memorable to them.
So here I’ve sat…. with a nation… watching the courageous testimony of one, and the impassioned denial of another, and my heart broke for both of them. I saw a women who FOUGHT her way to confidence and courage, battling demons in her head, and right in front of her, as she faced a man that helped create some of those battles. I also saw a man, terrified and outraged by the position he found himself in. The narrative developed was designed to eviscerate him. However, In my youth, in my own pain of discovering who I was, I too hurt someone, deeply. When I think of having to bear the weight of that fear and shame, of owning that on a national stage, knowing his wife and daughters watching, my heart ached for him too.
I’ve been a victim, and I’ve been the perpetrator of serious hurt and wrong doing. The world has sympathy for victims, compassion. For perpetrators it is a dangerous and lonely road to navigate, and it’s hard to feel compassion there, as we stand ready to judge, to crucify the wrong doer in the name of justice. I walked past a sign the other day that read: The first to apologize is the bravest, the first to forgive is the strongest, and the first to forget is the happiest. I disagree with the forgetting, we never forget. We may learn to release, and in turn feel ourselves being released from the grip a memory has on us, but we do not forget. The world needs brave men and women, but do we create an environment that bolsters bravery? With firing squads getting ready and taking aim, are we not stoking a fire of fear? Has fear ever authored peace?
In the wake of Kavanaugh’s confirmation then, the only thing I could think to do was write him a letter that he may never see, to release my unrest into the atmosphere and pray.
Dear Justice Kavanaugh,
When you walk into a room, people rise at the announcement of The Honorable Judge Kavanaugh. You have dedicated your career in service to this end, and the road to get here was long and painful. I imagine the temptation exists, to utilize this newly appointed powerful position to right a few wrongs you may have suffered, perhaps not overtly, perhaps not even consciously. I am writing to implore you to pause, in the quiet aftermath of this chaos, and reflect.
You alone know the intricate details of your past. However if ANY of the following rings true, at a deeply personal level…. I beg of you, for my sons and daughter, and your daughters, please think of them and our duty to their generation and the ones to follow.
I was born the year you graduated. Even 20 years after you, I came of age in a world that did not yet fully realize or appreciate the value of women. I don’t believe there is profit in trying to lay blame on this devaluation, rather am simply stating it as fact. I was raised in a Catholic home as well, the kind that also viewed church on Sunday as expected. This did not automatically translate to any sort of ‘faith’ for me, rather instilled a healthy skepticism toward my fellow brothers and sisters at the hypocrisy I saw run rampant, myself very much included. As I grew older, I choose to rebel against the hypocrisy I saw, and this rebellion found me in situations I am not proud of. Situations that wounded me deeply and some where I wounded other’s deeply. I had the luxury of owning my own story, of apologizing in my own time, behind closed doors and without the audience of a nation. I am not the woman I was back then, and have been able to forgive much believing those who have wronged me in the past are not those versions of themselves either. If, as you reflect over the course of your life, it was even POSSIBLE for the situations you were accused of to happen, I beg of you to stop in this moment and think DEEPLY on the grace that has been extended to you. Grace that saw fit to promote you to the highest court in the land. I too was given an undeserved second chance, and it has forever altered my outlook on everything.
It would be easy to discount my words, believing your career of service and the personal sacrifice it cost to get you here justifies this position. I’m praying that the faith you claim to bear witness to speaks in the still quiet, and challenges you to it’s higher ways and purposes.
The world needs grace, it needs mercy, it needs freedoms that are being fought for day in and day out. ‘One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all’. The world needs to create space for bravery, and now you: Honorable Judge Kavanaugh have been appointed to the seat which will ultimately decide for decades what kind of world our children will inherit. Will you create a world that seeks to turn back the hands of time to a period where the value of humanity was determined by some sliding scale, appointed by the powers that be? Will you perpetuate greater divides and hostility between race, gender, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation? Will you co-author a national landscape that makes it harder for people to be brave, that stokes the fire of fear of one another, or will you fight for equality that will have you remembered for generations to come?
If ever in your life you were not honorable, I beg of you to acknowledge the gift of grace, acknowledging the cost that made it even possible, and fight for the rest of your life to HONOR ALL of humanity.
Seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly Justice Kavanaugh.