Invitation to Exit
a lovehate note for Dr. Ford
“Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter”
~~ Christine Blasey Ford
“Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.”
~~ Anne Sexton
There have been probably millions of words written about Brett Kavanaugh, and I don’t flatter myself I have much to add.
My writing is read by very few people. Not even my family reads it anymore. Yet somehow, knowing I have language, some kind of document, of my own observations, sadness, love, joy, personal regret, cultural anger: it makes me feel more alive, and more connected to the roiling stream of human existence.
There are mothers searching for dead babies at this very moment in Sulawesi. They don’t know about Brett Kavanaugh, or the people, mainly women, who feel some kind of end has been reached in our Great Experiment. Suffering is everywhere. Birth is everywhere; Change, as the Buddha cannot remind us enough, is the only constant.
When the man currently living in the White House was “elected,” I thought we had reached a nadir, and would quickly correct our nightmarish, almost comical, mistake.
It was only the beginning. And his beginning, this little, stupid, mentally unstable carnival barker, will leave an impossibly long impression on this country that might well mark its demise. He is remaking the courts from the bottom up in his own image, filling vacancies Barack was unable to fill because of the thoroughly racist, undemocratic obstructionism of Republicans, of the quasi-fascist Mitch McConnell, and he is going to fill those vacancies with minds so far to the right we may as well be on a tilt-a-whirl that speeds only in one direction. What was fringe, what was Pat Buchanan, is now the celebrated norm among unimaginable numbers of white, often college educated men and women.
Shame to them. Shame on this country.
I thought I had no love for this country. For a long time, my entire life to be honest. I should have moved to France when I was 17; that I didn’t was a result of a rape that made me paranoid, fearful, and incapacitated for years. The memory still does, particularly when I hear the so-called President of the United States happily mock a brave, dignified woman who had the temerity – the fucking balls – to confront a system already rigged against her. Listening to him bring her down, the crowd laughing its approval: how similar that must have sounded to Dr. Ford to the laughter of Brett as he covered her mouth and prepared to have his way with her body.
Kavanaugh joins Clarence, who is publicly silent, poisonous, and unimaginative in his “originalist” views of the Constitution. Such a viewpoint is really just an excuse for profound intellectual laziness, a sentimental attachment to a past that never existed, and a convenient cudgel to keep traditionally marginalized humans in their place. Now the two Yale men can have drinks and chat about their college days, the ones Kavanaugh can remember anyway, which apparently aren’t many.
I try not to hate him but I do. I hate him as I hate my own rapist. And I battle the same feelings about donald trump, who is a dangerous, petty, profoundly mentally ill, narcissistic black hole of corruption and greed. He is a shell of rage, and it is my work, the work of all people who loathe him, to not become a mirror to him. Or to Kavanaugh, who revealed a temperament so fraught with anger, paranoid rantings, self-pity, and arrogance I cannot see how his mind has room for any input other than his own. Kavanaugh brags about having four women clerks. I am convinced he sussed them out for bullying purposes and bragging rights.
Kavanaugh is a travesty. He will possibly bring down Roe. His previous rulings have shown him to be about as far to the right as rush limbaugh. He seems to think regulations are a mere inconvenience to the great gods of commerce. What else can one say about a man who looks at Kenneth Starr as his shining beacon, his mentor? Apparently the Clintons still weigh on his mind. They should: he was part of a huge mess that should never have happened in the first place. Why this country insists on having no collective memory after 18 months is beyond me; perhaps we might evolve a bit if we held the evils of the past as something from which to learn, not promote, as we have this vengeful, drunken man.
Kavanaugh might make this country so dangerous for women I will be forced to leave: I have two daughters. And a son I will not allow to adopt even a shadow of the white-boy me-firstness so celebrated by the powers that be.
These “men” – trump, his minions, Kavanaugh. Not only are they terrifying and disgusting in what they represent for women, for the so recently empowered, now endangered LGBT community, for brown people, for black people, for common sense environmental regulation (god the list is apparently endless) – they are a mortal threat to our boys as well. What parent wants to see a child grow up to be an angry, narcissistic and selfish power monger? I have never believed politicians should be personal role models, but these men are infusing and altering our entire culture; the racists, the homophobes, the anti-choicers are crawling out of the shadows like starved prisoners who have been waiting to be released.
So I teach my son about honesty, equality. I am stern. I use foul language when I need to, sometimes just because I’m so fucking scared of what is happening around us. I teach my daughters about their bodies, that there is no such thing as shame, that they own their bodies, and no one has the right to touch them, even look at them, in a manner that creates discomfort. I teach them to use force. Verbal force. Physical if necessary. We practice. No “baby” voice. But they are babies. It breaks my heart.
I am boxing. A lot. I want to adopt guard dogs. I am… so scared.
And yet. And yet… in the middle of the Catastrophe, something has been born, deep inside me:
a tenderness. A new tenderness. I feel a love for my fellow countrypeople I have never known before. trump supporters – that is a struggle. I don’t understand them. I want to, but I don’t think I can. I still try. Even racism is born from Fear. A wounded heart. It is a wounded heart that carries a loaded gun though, and that is hard to hold.
I still would rather leave. But I am more involved, more loving to my neighbors, far more aware of the inequality around me, and far more willing, wanting, and needing to leave my little white-woman-yogi-ballet-arts bubble and see what the Hell is actually happening in the world.
The non-president is having, in untold numbers of citizens, mainly the ones he loathes (women, people with various pigmentation), an unanticipated effect, of which he is probably unaware: his rage creates love. I will not be him. I will see him. I will see the people around him. And I will admit to my own hatred, my own shadows.
But ultimately his absurdity, his indescribable foolishness, will awaken many to dignity, wisdom, and walking the long road to acceptance and love.
And that is my fuck-you valentine to trump, Inc.
May you find peace, quietude, and healing Dr. Ford.