As the Kavanaugh hearing unfolded last week, I sat in the Denver airport and waited to catch a delayed flight to New York City. My husband and I had tickets to see Hamilton and plans to see old friends. If our flight had left on time, I’d have missed most of the hearing. Thanks to a mechanical delay, I caught the bulk of it. I thought Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony was heartbreaking and credible. I thought Brett Kavanaugh seemed unhinged. You will probably agree or disagree depending on how badly you want a highly partisan, spoiled rich kid on the Supreme Court.
Now the president and Kavanaugh and Lindsey Graham (?!?) are all raging about how these accusations are ruining men’s lives, but that’s demonstrably false. We elevated a confessed “pussy grabber” to the highest office in America. Dozens of women have relayed credible stories about how the president groped them or walked in on them while they were in a state of undress. None of the accusations has ruined his life or cost him his job. The same will likely be true for Kavanaugh. If Kavanaugh isn’t confirmed to the Supreme Court, it won’t be because of women’s accusations. It will be because, when faced with a challenging situation, he melted down and threw a tantrum like a toddler in need of a nap.
Kavanaugh’s damage was wholly self-inflicted. As I watched him weep and pound his fists and flip binder pages with the petulance of a grade schooler, I wondered how he’d ever landed a job of any kind. He seems temperamentally unfit to work retail.
If he isn’t confirmed, it will be because he blatantly lied about every little thing. If he’d just admitted he was a drunk jerk in high school and college—one who made bad jokes about women and sex acts and rape, one who drank to excess too often, one who didn’t realize the psychological toll that his actions might have on the women he treated poorly—he’d have a lot more credibility and, I suspect, he’d earn some sympathy. I knew plenty of guys like Kavanaugh in the 80s. Some of them have reached out to me over the years to apologize for being dumb jerks when they were younger. The truth is, these guys were never all that awful. The really awful guys never apologize and never confess. That’s how you can tell that Kavanaugh was one of the truly awful guys. His denials are too strident, shrill, and obviously false. He is covering his ass. He doesn’t give a damn about the fallout. He doesn’t give a damn about the truth.
The husband and I eventually made it to New York City and we saw Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. It was even better than the hype. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so powerful and so entertaining in any media. I hope like hell that some young, aspiring playwright is currently mulling over the first notes of a musical for these political times. I can see it now. The actor who plays Kavanaugh will be a blowsy, red-faced, frat boy drunk who ugly cries his way through every number. The president will extol Kavanaugh’s virtues while running his hand up the skirt of the nearest female law clerk. The Hamilton soundtrack is based in rap, but the Kavanaugh/Trump musical could only be set to the music of the 1980s. I’m thinking hair bands and power ballads, maybe a bit of UB40-inspired reggae for Kavanaugh’s bar fight scene.
And, as they did in Hamilton, the women—angry, but composed—will outlast all the male buffoons and ultimately do the good work that propels this country forward.
At least I hope that’s how this ends. Every musical needs a rousing finale.