Regular readers of this column have noticed that I seldom write about political matters. But I would like to weigh in on the recent hearings because they captured the country’s attention and revealed some severely sharp differences of opinion, conviction and worldview. Also, I kept seeing “Dr. Ford,” and “Professor Ford” in the news so much that it hit home enough for me to be glad of my own relative anonymity. Further, during the hearings I was repeatedly reminded of some scriptures and I imagined that statue of Lady Liberty, blindfolded, holding those scales in balance. The scriptures on my mind were about seeking and finding, about not judging others and about removing the plank from your eye so that you can see to remove the speck in another’s eye. So, here goes:
I think we should believe credible accusers, even though they have no evidence. The price Americans pay for the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” is that, lacking evidence, the guilty may go free. Conversely, without due process, the innocent could be punished. As Hamlet would say, “Aye, there’s the rub.” Add politics to the mix, as in the Senate’s recent Kavanaugh debacle, and further complications arise.
For example, those on the left feared that the man’s appointment to the high court would tip Lady Justice’s scales too far to the right, thereby threatening liberal leanings on the Supreme Court. Thus, Senator Feinstein’s timing in notifying the Senate of the professor’s allegation was seen by some as a political ploy. Seek and ye shall find, the scriptures say, and, those who were looking for efforts to delay or to derail the appointment, found them in abundance. Further, those seeking evidence that some were rushing the process, ramming it through posthaste, found it in spades.
So, there were so many planks hanging out of senatorial eyes that efforts to remove the specks from their colleagues’ eyes seemed futile. Harsh judgments of Democrats by the Republicans were reciprocated in kind. Thankfully, Senator Collins, sympathetic with the blindness of Lady Liberty, sought to help her balance the teetering scale by a well-researched and rhetorically sound speech. She understood the biblical principle that we are destined to receive the same kind of judgment we exact, so she was deeply thoughtful, careful and transparently honest in her talk.
The essence of her speech boils down to these few sentences: “The facts presented do not mean that Professor Ford was not sexually assaulted that night or at some other time, but they do lead me to conclude that the allegations fail to meet the more likely than not standard. Therefore, I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court.”
In other words, lacking corroborating evidence, all the Senator says we have is the “more likely than not” measure. And, the way I understand it is that Senator Collins concluded it is more likely that the Judge did not do what he was accused of doing than that he did. Consequently, her view was that the accusation alone should not keep him off the court.