September 25, 2018
What if for no reason other than it suited the furthering of my political philosophy, I made up or greatly exaggerated an event that ruined your reputation or severely damaged your career?
What if the charges I’m making happened 35 years ago, and I could only remember some of the details? What if there was no way to prove or disprove these charges?
What if my political allies paid hundreds of people to protest against you because of my charges even though there is no witness and not a trace of evidence? It is simply me accusing you of something terrible.
What if, even though I claim the event traumatized me and haunted me still, I never reported the event to anyone — not a friend, not a teacher, not a parent, not a single person?
In fact, what if I waited 35 years to say anything about this event and only reported it on the eve of your getting a job you never dreamed possible … a job that would impact the future of our nation for a generation?
What if every single aspect of life were treated this way? What if we could simply say ‘that black man did X to me’; "that white dude said X to me”; “20 years ago that bully assaulted me?” Chaos would certainly erupt if all it took to hurt our enemies was an unsubstantiated and unprovable charge made about an event so distant no one would remember it.
It wasn’t long ago in America that someone accused was presumed innocent until a jury of peers found guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. No more. Many liberals today say that when it comes to sexual harassment the burden of proof should rest with the accused.
Even worse, some think that if the accuser is a woman, then she should be believed no matter what. Democrat Senator Maizie Hirono of Hawaii said exactly that, “Not only do women like Dr. Ford … need to be heard, but they need to be believed.”
Hirono, and many liberals like her, are in danger of establishing a standard of credibility based entirely on gender, and it’s as unfair today as it was when women weren’t allowed to testify in a court for no reason other than that they were women. In fact, women are still barred from testifying in many courts around the world and suffer the worst kind of abuse as a result. There’s no place in America for that kind of hateful bias.
Some have compared the current environment surrounding sexual misconduct as conducive to witch trials. I’m not sure I’d go that far … yet. But if as in 17th century Salem we have to believe the accuser just because he or she is the accuser, then I’d say we’ve crossed a rather bright line between what almost any honest person would consider fair and unfair.
It’s true that the guilty often escape punishment because of our high standard of guilt. But it used to be that those involved in our legal system believed it better that one hundred guilty escape rather than one innocent be punished unfairly.
Now another woman has come forward alleging misconduct from 35 years ago — an accusation also full of confusion that no one else she claims was present can corroborate. Some take the fact of a 2nd accusation as irrefutable proof that Kavanaugh is guilty. I do not.
In Salem 400 years ago, it was normally multiple accusers each feeding from and contributing to a spiraling hysteria that resulted in the burning of an innocent. In fact, the thing that surprises me is that more women haven’t “remembered” traumas instigated by Judge Kavanaugh. Sadly, in a nation of 300 million there are normally more than a few people willing to say or do whatever is required to get their 15 minutes even at huge cost to another.
I don’t doubt that the women accusing Judge Kavanaugh “remember” the events they’ve recounted. But memories are flawed. Sometimes things take a far worse complexion with the passage of time. Sometimes events become bigger, or they disappear all together. I just wonder whether the rest of us should really trust foggy and indistinct memories no one else has been able to verify.
If the U.S. Senate allows unsubstantiated and unprovable allegations to derail the appointment of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, they will have set a terrible and debilitating precedent. Even worse than the damage done to Judge Kavanaugh’s reputation and career, they will have permanently mined the foundation of American rule-of-law: allegations must be proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Further, if Senate Democrats are allowed to kill Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination on wholly unsubstantiated and unproved charges, then they will have contributed to an even further deterioration of people’s belief in the credibility and legitimacy of our government.
It’s already bad enough.
Judge Kavanaugh has produced dozens of witnesses who knew him in high school and college. Every one but these two, attest to his decency and honor. He’s met about as high a moral standard as any man or woman in America could meet in this day and age. Unless real evidence is presented to the contrary, then the Senate must vote up or down and get on with business.
The accusers deserve a fair hearing, but fairness to the judge and a proper commitment to rule of law requires the accusers prove their allegations. If they can’t, then the American people deserve a functioning Supreme Court and that means a full bench.
John Philip Sousa IV is an entrepreneur, political activist, author and accomplished business person. John has worked in the financial services industry for over 40 years, built a highly successful marketing company, ran for congress at age 24, and in 2016 created and led the successful movement to draft Dr Ben Carson into his candidacy for President of the United States. John is author of John Philip Sousa, A Patriot’s Life in Words and Pictures and Ben Carson, RX for America.