The latest development in the Christine Blasey Ford accusation is the submission of four “declarations” from friends of Ford—including her husband—that Democrats are presenting as absolute proof of her claims. And what do these declarations declare? By all means, take the link and read the Fox News article, but you’ll discover only these people declare Ford told them something or other about the supposed assault no earlier than more than 30 years after it may or may not have occurred. They have no actual knowledge of the truth or falsity of Ford’s claims. They can only say Ford told them something about them, and for most, recently indeed. In other words, their statements are hearsay, provided by Ford, and hearsay that “proves” only that Ford told them what they know.
NOTE: I will not be addressing the most recent allegation as it is in the category of asserting Bigfoot is Judge Kavanaugh and Chelsea Clinton’s love child. For those interested in the Twilight Zone substance, go here. For Charles Cooke’s relevant “what the…?” questions, go here. I will, however, add a few social media posts to provide a bit of the flavor of the newest insanity. In July of 2013, I was writing extensively about the Trayvon Martin case, and posted an article titled How Can We Know? It explained how investigators see these matters, how they determine the truth. An excerpt:
Knowing. Writing about the George Zimmerman case, I’ve seen many people of good will write: ‘we’ll never know what happened in this case, but…’. In the most technical, hair-splitting sense, they’re correct. But in consideration of daily reality, they’re not, and understanding the distinction is at once instinctive and vital.
After all, what’s our standard for knowing anything? Is there a more or less universal standard, or are our standards situational? Will we accept one standard of proof from our friends, but expect more–or less–of co-workers or strangers? At one time, Walter Cronkite was ‘the most trusted man in America,’ but now we know he often lied in the furtherance of a leftist narrative. Few Americans actually believe what the legacy media tells them, yet most Americans are also able–if they take the time to think clearly–to tell when that same media can be trusted. That’s certainly a situational matter, but there are standards.
I’ve been married to my wife for 35 years, [now 40] unquestionably the best years of my life. For my knowledge of her before we met I rely almost entirely on her word, yet I have no difficulty relying on nothing more than that. Perhaps her memories are dimmed by all of those years? Perhaps she doesn’t remember every detail with perfect fidelity? Perhaps she even fails to tell me some things and like all of us, tells some stories in subtle ways that make her more virtuous and admirable than she really was. Yet, I have no difficulty believing that I know about those years of her life, that I know about her, and if evidence someday pops up that might cause me to alter what I believe I know, so what? I’m not going to discover that she’s actually my daughter from a one-night stand I had and forgot long ago, or that she’s actually an alien parasite just waiting for the chance to lay her eggs in my chest. That she was once mean to Bobby who had a huge crush on her when she was 15 means nothing considering who she now is. Perhaps what she learned from that incident was instrumental in making her who she is.
In other words, I have 40 years of experience with her. I know her character; I know what is normal behavior for her; I know I can trust her with my life. And if I discover she did something more than forty years ago that might be considered wrong, it will not in any way change my understanding of, and my love for, her. God help us all if our juvenile mistakes determined our ability to pursue careers or to avoid prison for decades old foolishness.
Human nature plays a significant role here. In retelling traumatic events–and few are more traumatic than taking a life, even to preserve our own–we inevitably add and subtract. From day to day, some events suddenly become clearer or take primacy in our memories. We want to be acceptable to others, so in subtle ways, we accent this and suppress that. In analyzing what happened to us, we rearrange and emphasize details that previously seemed less important and meaningful. And because we are a story-telling species, we always want to tell a good story. We’re guided by our literary and cultural models, whether we realize it or not.
We’re a story-telling species? Think about your interactions with others. What percentage of those conversations are little more than story telling? They aren’t usually huge narratives, just little slices of life, short, short stories, if you will, but stories nonetheless. They are the cement of our relationships, ideas and reassurances, indications that others think as we do, appreciate the same things, or in the case of people whose stories seem disquieting, even alien, they tell us who isn’t like us, who is unlikely to empathize with us or appreciate us. It is only as we become more comfortable with others, as we internalize a body of stories that allows us to accept them that we move beyond story telling and into discussion, even debate of issues that matter to us. Even so, we always return to stories, for they change and grow as we change and grow.
In the Ford case, there are two competing cultural narratives, standards, if you will:
1) All women must be believed and any accusation of misbehavior lodged against a man is, prima facie, credible. No evidence is necessary, and the mere attempt to gather it is disbelieving and harming the victim/survivor.
2) Everyone is innocent until proved guilty by credible and relevant evidence.
The first standard is the most contemporary and entirely political. The second arguably reaches all the way back to the Magna Carta, and the idea that individuals have rights government may not deny. In the Ford case, democrats are arguing the first standard, even arguing that because the confirmation fight is not a criminal proceeding, we need not bother with such antiquated and anti-female concepts as proof beyond the most miniscule standard of doubt. Every reason that would cause any rational person to doubt Ford must be ignored, and is, in fact, evidence she is telling the truth. For example, the fact that she waited more than 30 years to tell her tale, coincidently at the very time Brett Kavanaugh was poised to be confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice, is not evidence she may be lying, but evidence that women are so traumatized by such events no one can expect them to contemporaneously report violent assaults. Waiting until someone they oppose is about to take a Supreme Court seat is not suspicious, but virtuous.
This is nonsense. It is true that some women do not report such things, but failure to report is never a sign of virtue, nor can it possibly strengthen and verify a tale told decades later. It is, to any rational person, significant, but not absolutely dispositive, reason for doubt. Adding to that doubt is information from Ford herself that her opposition to Kavanaugh was so consuming she was willing to do whatever she could to derail his confirmation. Again, this is not absolute proof she is fabricating her story—coincidences occur–but it certainly does not support it.
Let us stipulate this is not a criminal matter and will never be a criminal matter. There is no physical or other evidence. Ford admits she was drunk, knows no details of her allegation, can’t recall how she got there, doesn’t know where therewas, how she got home, can’t even recall the yearit supposedly occurred and every witness that was supposedly present, even women, say it didn’t happen. The notes of the therapist that, only a few years ago, supposedly first heard Ford’s tale contradict her current version in significant ways. Ford’s latest “evidence” is hearsay and would never be admissible, nor should it be. Likewise the results of Ford’s polygraph—if that’s what it was—would never be admissible. There is no evidence, there could be no arrest, there could be no conviction, and any competent judge would dismiss the case with prejudice, at the latest after the prosecution rested. Most would dismiss it earlier. And if that were not enough, it would be a juvenile matter, not an adult criminal prosecution. Even if a conviction were possible, it would be sealed so as not to unfairly affect Kavanaugh’s future, which is more or less the point of a separate juvenile justice system.
But this isn’t a criminal case, so none of that matters! Who among us would be comfortable working for a company whose standard of proof was mere accusation based on gender? Who could trust a spouse willing to believe any accusation, devoid of evidence, against them? Who would willingly associate with women that believe all men rapists, and are only waiting for any accusation for them to be exposed as the rapists they are?
What is to be the standard of proof for non-criminal matters in our society? How will we define our interpersonal relationships? Are we now to abandon every rational standard of proof and understanding? Senate Democrats and their supporters would have us do exactly that.
None of us were there. In fact, none of the people Ford claims were there where there, wherever “there” might be. Fortunately, we need not have been there to come to a reasonable understanding of what happened, or in this case, didn’t happen.
We come to this understanding by common sense, by applying American standards of fairness that ensure all relevant evidence be gathered and subject to reasonable scrutiny. We uphold the presumption of innocence, for without it, we revert to a tribal society without rules other than clan loyalty enforced by the strength to destroy those not of our tribe. We cannot demand the accused prove themselves innocent against mist-like charges, for no one can prove a negative.
Knowing what we know of this case, and for a change, that is likely close to all the Senate knows, we cannot so much as be reasonably certain Ford and Kavanaugh have ever been in the same place together.
If we cannot know that, what more can possibly be known?
Some have gone so far as to call Kavanaugh a murderer—of course, they were doing that before Ford’s allegations were known–and even a sexual predator of children, this apparently because Ford was not an adult when supposedly assaulted, or just because anyone Democrats hate is the embodiment of evil. Conveniently ignored is the fact neither was Kavanaugh—if we accept the incident occurred at all sometime in a five or more year span.
In my many years of police work, I learned to recognize deception. I learned the “red flags” that usually, though not always, accompany false allegations. Employment lawyer Adam Mill’s experience reflects my own. By all means, take the link, read his article, and decide for yourself if Ford’s story raises red flags.
Did something traumatic happen to Ford more than 35 years ago, something that caused her no physical harm but left her psyche scarred? Perhaps, but there is no proof of it. Is she making it up? Many women—many people—do. Why would she lie? Because she is a troubled woman? Because there are dysfunctional dynamics in her personal relationships we cannot know? Because she wants to keep Kavanaugh from the Supreme Court? Because she is a dedicated member of the resistance and for them, any tactic that achieves their goals is permissible because Trump is Hitler and so is everyone associated with him?
We simply don’t know, and probably cannot know. Republicans, some willingly, are being played for suckers. Fortunately, normal Americans are smarter; they know they don’t need to know such things.
What we do know is we cannot get to the first step of reasonable, common sense proof. We can’t place Kavanaugh at the scene of the crime—so to speak–because we have no idea where or when it was, and everyone Ford has identified as an eyewitness affirms it didn’t happen. There is no evidence to examine, no interpretations over which to argue, no inferences to be made.
Knowing this, one can believe that Brett Kavanaugh is a previously undiscovered monster. One can equally believe Christine Blasey Ford is a politically motivated liar. Based on the available evidence, one could equally believe Donald Trump is an evil alien from the planet Mongo, here because Mongo needs women!
What there is no reason to believe—to know—apart from taking it on politically motivated faith, is Brett Kavanugh assaulted Christine Blasey Ford at any particular place and time. If, after the hearing on Thursday at which Ford may or may not appear, if, after all the delaying tactics are exhausted and Republicans have not fearfully rolled over on their backs, exposing their political bellies and begging Democrats not to eviscerate them, and Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, life will go on.
If we concede there is no evidence it ever occurred, our lives will continue, unaffected. But if this is to be the case, we must always stand by American standards of proof and civil discourse. We must apply uncommon common sense, and be ready to admit we cannot know everything, nor do we needto know everything.
We may believe whatever we choose—have I told you I’m a Nigerian prince in exile and if you’ll send me your bank account numbers, I’ll deposit millions in your accounts?—but we may not act on those insupportable beliefs to the detriment of others if we wish to continue to live in anything resembling America.