Home Supreme Court “To everyone who feels anger, hopelessness and despair…we need you. Run for...

“To everyone who feels anger, hopelessness and despair…we need you. Run for office. Volunteer on a campaign. Get involved.” And VOTE!

Reactions from Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, Fairfax County School Board member Ryan McElveen, Virginia House Dem Leader Toscano, Tom Perriello, Leslie Cockburn, etc.

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A few reactions from Virginians to the expected confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court – as well as Christine Blasey Ford’s riveting testimony – jumped out at me this morning. See below for comments by Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, Fairfax County School Board member Ryan McElveen, Virginia House Democratic Leader Del. David Toscano, Tom Perriello, Leslie Cockburn and others. The key lesson? Do NOT withdraw into anger and cynicism, but get MORE involved – as Del. Carroll Foy writes, “To everyone who feels anger, hopelessness and despair – to everyone who is fed up and fears for our future – we need you. Run for office. Volunteer on a campaign. Get involved.” And, of course, VOTE!

Fairfax County Public School Board member Ryan McElveen:

In America, we preach that mistakes are forgivable as long as we learn from them. Unfortunately, the way the United States Judiciary Committee has mishandled the sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh bears a striking resemblance to how that same body mishandled claims against Clarence Thomas 27 years ago. Perhaps the two most striking differences were that this time the Majority decided to hire a female prosecutor to ask its questions and ultimately allowed the re-opening of an FBI investigation, the outcome of which was already a foregone conclusion. Apparently, the only thing the Senate learned from its mistakes in 1991 was to improve the optics of its actions, not the actions themselves.

Failing to learn from its past mistakes, the Senate—with the slimmest majority of Senators—has decided for the second time in three decades to confirm a Justice accused of serial sexual misconduct to the Supreme Court.

The question that has been rattling around in my head as this national travesty has unfolded is: What does this excruciating display teach our children, and how should we talk to them about it?

I was five years old at the time of the Clarence Thomas hearings, and frankly, that was probably a good thing, because it did not make an impression on me. I grew up respecting women as equals, and it never once occurred to me that abusing someone could be considered acceptable to anyone, much less to our most senior elected representatives. But plenty of young people, both then and now, have observed how society reacts to those who bring forward sexual misconduct allegations against powerful figures. The public response only reinforces the indelible impression that the burden of proof of sexual misconduct still lies disproportionately with the accuser, and that sexual misconduct does not disqualify men from holding positions that demand our greatest public trust.

As we interact with our children in the aftermath of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation, we must engage in frank conversations about the importance of respecting others. We must reaffirm that we value their perspectives and lived experiences, just as they should value those of others. We must ensure they know that we are there if they need someone in whom to confide, just as they should be there for others. And most important, we must continue encouraging them to do what the Senate failed to do—learn from past mistakes—so that the next generation does not have to face these same exhausting, emotional battles over and over again to no avail.

The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh is profoundly disheartening. As I have agonized over the outcome, I’m left with an enduring sense of hope—from seeing the reactions of young women and men everywhere—that the bravery and heroism displayed by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (and Anita Hill before her) have not been in vain. By choosing to share her experience out of her own self-described civic duty, Dr. Ford has become an empowering figure and a role model for many Americans. She is the living personification of doing what is right even if it means sacrificing everything. I believed her when she testified, and I still believe her today.

Dr. Ford’s civic sacrifice for the country should inspire us to do all we can to elect leaders like the minority of Senators who have stood up on behalf of sexual misconduct survivors everywhere and prioritized the interests of people and country over party. The integrity of our public institutions needs protecting now more than ever, and in Democracies, that must start and end with us—the voters.