Let me say that I do not have a clue if Judge Kavanagh is guilty as charged or not. Certainly his character seems to challenge the accusations but until the evidence is there, all we have are accusations. Well, that is not quite true. We have more than charges and accusations -- we have the power of shame. Indeed, it seems like some have honed the art of shame politics for certain causes at least. That is my concern. The politics of shame is not a very accurate barometer of morality.
Why is the power of shame so great in service to the #metoo causes but not so powerful against those who use abortion as a means of birth control? Why is the power of shame so effective against those who question how gender has become a feeling and choice but not so effective against those who make consent the only barometer of morality? Why does the power of shame work so well against establishment types but not so much against people who live on the cutting edge of choice and identity?
I am thankful that I grew up before every stupid thing I said or did could be recorded for posterity on smart phone and played on YouTube for all to see. But my grandchildren will not be so insulated from the immediate consequences of their foolishness. And it will mark them just as old accusations have already marked Judge Kavanagh -- whether he is guilty or not. History will weigh anything good he has done against the accusations against him. In the end, the question remains who will be left to lead if every foolish, stupid, immature, or questionable word or action will be allowed to shame someone from the national stage? No one is perfect -- not that this should justify or excuse immorality and illegal action. Yet some of the sins of the imperfect were good teachers of character and the people grew from their failing. If the politics of shame are allowed to remove some of those people from the national stage, the choices left to us may not be what we want or need.
Some of those whom we now acclaim as our greatest leaders were people with flaws and failings that would certainly disqualify them from leadership today and, if they refused to leave that national stage, the politics of shame would do what honest justice could not. Again, my point is to raise a question about the power of shame, the accusations that may not be provable, and the innocence that may not be enough to restore a person so accused. What do we do then?