I begin with a parable:
Two sh’baab (young fellows*) boosted a $77,000 automobile. One was impoverished and planned to benefit from chopping the car for parts, the other came for the adventure of stealing and driving. They were apprehended with no damage done to the vehicle. By miraculous luck, the two were brought before the fairest of all judges:
“I rule that each will pay the minuscule amount that the vehicle depreciated while in their care — as restitution and penalty, respectively. The owner is only inconvenienced, so let there be nothing on the record of this so that the futures of these sh’baab are not wrecked by a minor mistake.” The adventurer was chastened but the impoverished sheb found a new partner.
The new duo broke-and-entered a luxurious home one day, while the owners were away. The impoverished sheb stole electronics to sell on the black-market, since he was still destitute; the new partner vandalized the house with childish glee. They were apprehended and brought before the fairest of all judges, again.
“All of the items were restored. Let them each be fined for the damages equally since we cannot know which sheb caused what damage. Yet, let there be nothing on their records nor let the press attach these incidents to their names. The violation of the house is remedied with money and the owners came to no harm. The crime was not personal. I cannot exchange possessions for the opportunities that lay ahead for these gentlemen.”
The impoverished sheb found better partners and was never arrested again. The other found a new partner of his own and went to a house party with kegs of beer… to enjoy mischief. One of them corralled a young woman in a room to sexually molest her while the other guarded the door. With the support of family and friends, she reported the incident to law-enforcement — who gathered and examined evidence which placed both at the scene of the assault but couldn’t distinguish between them. The sh’baab were arraigned, yet relieved to see the fairest of all judges presiding. After charges were read, the judge spoke:
“Let them both be ruined. I recommend the maximum penalty possible under the law– if I had the power, I would broadcast the result across the Internet.”
Baffled, one defendant rose to his feet and pleaded, “my friend is only 17 and his record will be expunged. I will be tried as an adult and the effects will be lasting! Have we not merely erred, as our friends before us?”
“No,” replied the fairest judge, “not merely, whether attacker or accomplice! Your friends did not touch another human being and all possessions can be replaced for a price. This young woman has only one body and you violated its dignity; she has only one mind and you violated its peace at incalculable cost. The crime is horrific and personal. How are your peers to be deterred from wreaking the vilest kinds of havoc if you are not penalized? Furthermore, you have already demonstrated an inhumanity unsuitable for many professions — I would be loathe to allow that either of you would ever sit where I am now.”
* * *
I am starting to depart from telling in favor of showing. The parable has several layers, ‘seam-lines’, and ambiguities relating to class and motives; I invite comments. Race is not explicitly named because I want readers to notice the appearances and cultural markers they automatically attached to characters. Re-read the parable but intentionally change the details you inserted during the first reading: does that not change the story’s effects?
This piece is a response to a well-documented conundrum. When women report molestation years afterward, a sub-set of our society erects an ‘apologetics of irrelevance’ as if the incident was too long ago to matter. Yet when allegations come swiftly, a similar sub-set is eager to protect the assumed trajectory of the accused’s lives. The parsimonious solution is to punish young perpetrators and allow men who respect women to take their places on the rise to important positions in society. A woman’s trajectory is already adversely effected by an assault and the indifference or hostility of society only robs her of even more potential. Older, powerful men who commit assault in the present time should also be prosecuted — weren’t they once the young men whose trajectories conservative society was so eager to protect? There is not a shortage of capable young men who also respect women– let them rise to power instead. Let the women themselves rise higher because justice is on their side, at last.
Brett Kavanaugh does not belong on the bench of the Supreme Court regardless of how many women he assaulted: there should already be nine active justices. The Republican-majority US congress of 2016 ought to have respected the intent of the constitution and held hearings for President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. Their stall-tactics set a grave precedent. Their rationale, refusing to hear a nominee for the remainder of an election cycle, could stretch into refusing to acknowledge nominees indefinitely; a constitutional amendment should be drafted to close this loophole. Until then, we are in a Civil Cold-War. Any tactic necessary to delay this appointment (except murder) seems fitting to me. If I had the resources and connections, I would not balk at abducting Kavanaugh and detaining him on an island under another country’s jurisdiction. Repeat for any subsequent nominees during the Trump-Pence era. I imagine a fog-oppressed rock off the coast of British Columbia or Nova Scotia, or any other just-barely-warm-enough clime. Feed them and provide a DVD-player with some movies, anything to humanely remove them from circulation. We would liberate them after a leftward shift in congress made their appointment(s) impossible. Laws prohibit abduction but the spirit of the law, itself, is at-risk when Supreme Court appointments are hanging in the balance. A partisan-drunk congress over-checked a president and the next president nominated a judge who advocates presidential immunity from the law. I believe this turn of events is inconsistent with the USA’s founding principles of checks-and-balances. Trump and McConnell’s Republicans are purveying an unacceptable interpretation of our constitution.
I will close by giving credit where credit is due: these women and their supporters are patriots and the #MeToo Movement deserves a status upgrade. I believe the accusations, of course. Yet their words are in defense of our country regardless of how ‘factual’. Their stories are also True as parables; their allegations are consistent with the society Brett Kavanaugh might promote within the Court based on the tenets he espouses. Parables exist in “no-time” and “all-time” simultaneously. Even if Brett never corralled the woman in the room, he has always stood guard by the door: accomplice to misogyny.
Ruin him. Ruin men like him. Ruin any party that stays in power because of these men. Save the the law, the country, and our society. Save women**.
*I use the Arabic terms ‘sheb’ (singular) and ‘sh’baab (plural) because they encompass males ranging from adolescents to legal adult-males who have not reached cultural milestones of consummate manhood, such as fatherhood or owning/managing a business.
**I intend to name women (cis or trans) as under-valued in-aggregate by American society. This is not meant to rhetorically erase abuses suffered by men or queer-folk.