Sept. 27, 2018 – Make no mistake: The drama that took place in hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27, 2018 was about power: On one side, the power of men who harass or abuse women and get away with it, the power of privileged white men to entrench their power even more on the Supreme Court, the power of men to take away a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body.
On the other side, the power of women with the courage to tell what has happened to them, to demand an end to white male privilege, and to preserve and enlarge their constitutional rights.
Dr. Ford was poised, articulate, clear and convincing. No one who witnessed her testimony and her responses could conclude that she failed to tell the truth. More than that: She radiated self-assured power.
Brett Kavanaugh showed himself to be a vicious partisan – a Trump-like figure who feels entitled to do and say whatever he wants, who suspects leftwing plots against him, who refuses to take responsibility for his actions, who uses emotional bullying and intimidation to get his way.
Kavanaugh may still get on the Supreme Court, but there can no longer be any doubt about his temperament or character, or his politics. A large share of the American public will never trust him to be impartial. Many will never believe his denials of sexual harassment. Most will continue to see him as the privileged, arrogant, self-righteous person he has revealed himself to be.
I hope today’s performance convinces a critical mass of American women to do what must be done November 6 to give themselves a firm and clear voice in the Senate and in the rest of American government – to empower themselves at a time when the President, the majority of Congress, and a potential majority in the Supreme Court intend to disempower them.
Robert B. Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best sellers “Aftershock”, “The Work of Nations,” and”Beyond Outrage,” and, his most recent, “The Common Good,” which is available in bookstores now. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, “Inequality For All.” He’s co-creator of the Netflix original documentary “Saving Capitalism,” which is streaming now.