Make no mistake: The drama that took place in hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27, 2018, was about power: On one side, the power of men who harass or abuse women and get away with it, the power of privileged white men to entrench their power even more on the Supreme Court, the power of men to take away a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body.
On the other side, the power of women with the courage to tell what has happened to them, to demand an end to white male privilege, and to preserve and enlarge their constitutional rights.
Dr. Ford was poised, articulate, clear and convincing. No one who witnessed her testimony and her responses could conclude that she failed to tell the truth. More than that: She radiated self-assured power.
Brett Kavanaugh showed himself to be a vicious partisan—a Trump-like figure who feels entitled to do and say whatever he wants, who suspects left-wing plots against him, who refuses to take responsibility for his actions, who uses emotional bullying and intimidation to get his way.
Kavanaugh may still get on the Supreme Court, but there can no longer be any doubt about his temperament or character, or his politics. A large share of the American public will never trust him to be impartial. Many will never believe his denials of sexual harassment. Most will continue to see him as the privileged, arrogant, self-righteous person he has revealed himself to be.
I hope Thursday’s performance convinces a critical mass of American women to do what must be done November 6 to give themselves a firm and clear voice in the Senate and in the rest of American government—to empower themselves at a time when the president, the majority of Congress, and a potential majority in the Supreme Court intend to disempower them.
This post originally appeared at RobertReich.org.
Robert B. Reich is the chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley and former secretary of labor under the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the 10 most effective Cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. His film, Inequality for All, was released in 2013. Follow him on Twitter: @RBReich.