The FBI’s investigation into sexual assault charges against Brett Kavanaugh is now in the hands of the Senate members who will decide whether to seat him on the high court. Two of the remaining three GOP holdouts — Jeff Flake of Arizona and Maine’s Susan Collins — have already announced they’re ready to vote in favor of confirmation.
But what does this latest partisan feud tell LGBTQ Americans about the people who will could well determine what their future looks like?
Only yesterday, CNN aired a segment that ran down a laundry list of the administration’s discounting of LGBTQ concerns. Tuesday saw the introduction of a new State Department directive declaring that the United States will recognize only marriages, and not same-sex partnerships when granting diplomatic visas to partners. Add that to the ban on transgender Americans serving in the Armed Forces and the Trump/Pence support of laws mandating who goes to the bathroom where and so-called “religious freedom” initiatives still cropping up across the country.
A bigger picture is now emerging: While alt-right politics and Trump’s White House encampment once seemed a temporary aberration — a Frankenstein’s monster stitched together from culture wars and Tea Party anger — it now appears Trump and his supporters are looking to stop diversity in its tracks. In its place? A society that codifies and refreshes for generations to come through Supreme Court rulings a society that keeps white, straight, wealthy and conservative Protestant men in charge.
That is Mitch McConnell’s crusade. That is Lindsey Graham’s crusade. And that is precisely what Donald Trump and his supporters are working diligently to accomplish. If they can pass the baton of protecting White Male Privilege successfully to the much younger Kavanaugh, they will have succeeded in what they consider “protecting our heritage.”
And that much is true. They will be doing all they can to Make America Great Again — which they equate with preserving a nation in their own image, and perhaps in the process create a ruling class where straight white men can roam the country with greater impunity than everyone else, and that means minorities and LGBTQ citizens in particular.
With the investigation over and its contents becoming public, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will have to ask themselves where their true loyalties lie: to political expediency, to the President and what the Republican party has become in his wake — or to their own consciences.
One of the key elements to watch for in the completed report is whether the investigation makes an assessment about whether Kavanaugh is likely to have committed sexual assault — which is unlikely, since investigators are not in the business of drawing conclusions. But what’s already known is that the scope of the investigation was limited by the White House to only examine allegations of sexual misconduct, and not whether Kavanaugh lied about his drinking and the nature of his sexist schoolboy scribblings.
Apparently what’s perjury to some is to others worthy of a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land, so long as the status quo remains intact.
And, like the general election of 2016, this conservative victory will not end America’s culture wars. But college-educated, big city-dwelling liberals are left asking themselves once again: If we’re as smart as we think we are, how come we keep losing?
Last modified: November 1, 2018