The Wayne Stater

A failure to do the right thing

Justin Yost, Staff Writer

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It was painfully obvious Republican Senator Chuck Grassley and the rest of the Republican senators learned nothing from the Anita Hill hearing in 1991 and the #MeToo movement of last year, during Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday.

Watching it at home and having to listen to Ford’s account of a sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh while they were in high school was gut wrenching. Dragging a private citizen in front of the committee to relive her sexual assault and the circus that unfolded was an embarrassment for this country. Her account was hard to listen to, but it was also gripping. The hearing as a whole is worth watching to the way both Ford and Kavanaugh act during their testimony.

Ford gave a very real and credible opening statement, telling her story of the night in 1982 when the assault took place. At times having to take a second to collect herself as she relived that night in front of the committee and the world watching.

The way the questioning was conducted after both Ford and Kavanaugh’s opening statements was weird to say the least. All 11 of the Republican senators ceded their right to question Ford to an independent prosecutor Rachel Mitchell. Other than chairman Grassley and one interjection from Lindsey Graham all of the other Republicans stayed quiet for all four hours of the questioning of Ford.

While I can see why they would do this, the look of 11 men questioning Ford about her sexual assault, it was still very odd. The republicans chose to represent themselves with all men on this committee. And to not at least, thank Ford for coming and testifying or giving their normal thoughts and prayers, they give everyone for what she has gone through they sat silent. This was a big mistake.

Mitchell had only two goals in her questioning, most likely given to her by the Republican senators who gave her their time; try to poke holes in Ford’s story and find any instance where Democrats had urged Ford to come forward and help give Ford her story.

She failed on both goals. Mitchell would ask Ford questions for five minutes before Grassley would interrupt to give time to the Democrat senator who would be asking next. After another five minutes time for questioning was given back to Mitchell. Being a professional prosecutor she tried many times to get Ford to slip up and say something different than she had previously answered in an earlier line of questioning. Ford did not slip up. Mitchell asked repeatedly if any of the democrats urged her to come forward or help her with her story. Other than Ford revealing one of the law firms she was represented by was recommended by Senator Diane Feinstein office, Mitchell failed again.

Shortly after they wrapped up Dr. Ford’s hearing, Kavanaugh’s hearing began. The first 10 minutes of his opening statement was delivered in something close to a yell. He blasted and yelled at the Democratic members of the committee for trying to smear him. He called out the Clintons and said he would never back down daring the Democrats to vote him down.
The reported plan by the Republicans was to let Mitchell handle questions for both Ford and Kavanaugh. That is how it started during the Kavanaugh hearing but quickly stopped. Graham started the trend reclaiming his time and spent all five minutes attacking Democrats. Using the line, “This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics.” Physically pointing at democrats as he said it. Graham accomplished what he was trying to prompting a tweet from Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeting that Graham had more courage and decency than every Democrat on the committee combined.

My question is why is Kavanaugh the hill Republicans are willing to die on? President Trump was given a list of over a dozen names to become the Supreme Court nominee. Many of which will vote for every conservative law put in front of them. Why would any Republican who is coming up for re-election in November put their political lives on the line. The gripping testimony Ford gave will be on every re-election commercial from now on.

Ford came forward with nothing to gain. She has been attacked, driven from her home, and separated from her family. She came forward, according to her, because of her civic duty. She wanted to make sure a man who will help shape the laws for the next generation isn’t a man who sexually assaulted someone and has lied about it ever since. She has more courage than any Republican who attacked her, and has been someone survivors of sexual abuse and abuse in general can look up to.

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About the Writer
Justin Yost, Opinion Editor

Justin Yost is from Logan, IA and graduated from Logan-Magnolia High School in 2013. Justin is a senior and is majoring in Journalism. Aside from writing...

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