These posts reflect my original interest in American politics, history and political theory broadly cast. I’m interested in exploring the nexus between American Political Development (APD) and American Political Thought (APT) as well as American Studies and Africana Studies or all regional “studies,” including working with Gajo Petrovic a leader in Praxis published in the former Yugoslavia.
This was the reason I stayed in politics for my Ph.D. rather than leaving for law school, history, sociology or business school as faculty kept trying to convince me to do in undergraduate and graduate school after spending a gap year reading Heidegger’s Being and Time with University of Zagreb philosophy professor Gajo Petrovic, who spent time at IAS and working with the author of the former Yugoslavian Constitution, the one that stuck — written in the 1970s. The latter scholar attended the Sorbonne in the 1930s and ended his career as the Dean of the best law school in Belgrade. In the 1980s the Fulbright funded his scholarship on Jefferson at Claremont Graduate School. I worked with him for my B.A. thesis on Marx, existentialism, phenomenology and Yugoslavian self-management supervised by Claremont Men’s College’s public law professor Winston Fisk.
PSC72009/Hist74900/WSC 81000-10Spring 2020*Gender, Race, and American Political Development:American Dream or American Dread?
Tuesdays 11:45 AM-1:45 PM until March 10, then remote via Slack (see announcements)
David Waldstreicher 5411.09Office Hour Tues 2:00-3:00 (remote and by appointment)
Ruth O’Brien 5200.01 Office Hour Tues. 2:00-3:00 (remote, and by appointment)
Course Overview:This course examines to what extent, in what ways, are exceptionalist understandings of U.S. political traditions a problem or a solution? Do accounts that stress race, or gender, or the confluence of the two, provide a necessary or sufficient theory or counter-narrative of political development? Do frameworks developed in European politics, in critical theory, in postcolonial thought, or in domestic vernaculars comprehend the roles of race and gender, or their relationship to each other, in the political past and political time now? What kinds of analytical scholarship and storytelling have been adequate to the task? Finally, given the recent resurgence of angry and martial rhetoric at the center of national politics, how might we understand the relationship between the revolutionary or Enlightenment dreams of justice, peace, freedom and progress, on the one hand, and the recurrent dread or nightmare of decline and oppression, as shaping facts of specifically political traditions?
•Weekly brief (1-2 pp.) reflections on the readings.
•A term paper of 12-15 pages, due May 8, that may take one of the following forms:
•A historiography or “literature review” that takes as its subject one of the week’s readings and incorporates the recommend readings and possibly others as well.
•A research paper according to the expectations of one’s discipline or the course one is registered for (political science, history, women’s studies etc.)
•A proposal for a more substantial research project. Consult with one of the instructors about expectations according to disciplinary specificities.
A 2-3 page PROPOSAL for term final paper is due on March 31.
Schedule and Readings
1 Jan. 28 Introduction: a discipline counts: histories (social, intellectual, political, economic, material, cultural); APD meets APT; theories of living and dead thinkers, significant social theory.
2 Feb. 4Defining Interdisciplinary and Intersectional Concepts: Definition of APD methods (historical institutionalism, regimes, epistemic communities);APD meets APT; APT themes, including settler political theory, West/Imperialism, Migration/Immigration
Reading: Stephen Skowronek & Karen Orren, The Search for American Political Development (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004) chps. 1-2; Rogers M. Smith, “Ideas and the Spirals of Politics: The Place of American Political Thought in American Political Development,” American Political Thought 3 (Spring 2014), pp. 126-136; Jeffrey Checkel, Jeffrey Friedman, Matthias Matthijs, and Rogers Smith, “Roundtable on Ideational Turns in the Four Sub-Disciplines of Political Science,” Critical Review, Vol. 28, Issue 2, (2016), 171-202 [Read Rogers Smith only]; Brian J. Glenn, “Louis Hartz’s Liberal Tradition in America as Method.” Studies in American Political Development 19, no. 2 (2005): 234–39.
Recommended: Rogers M. Smith, “Beyond Tocqueville, Myrdal, and Hartz: The Multiple Traditions in America,” American Political Science Review, Vol. 87, No. 3 (Sep., 1993): 549-566; Giacomo Gambino “‘Our End Was in Our Beginning’: Judith Shklar and the American Founding,” American Political Thought 8 (Mar 2019): 202-30; Ruth Abbey, “The Political Thought of America’s Founding Feminists, by Lisa Pace Vetter,” American Political Thought 7 (Sep 2018): 671-73; Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (New York: Nation Books, 2016): Chapters 1-4, pp. 1-57; Paul Pierson, “The Study of Policy Development,” Journal of Policy History 17 No. 1(2005): 34-51; Robert Lieberman, “Ideas, Institutions, and Political Order: Explaining Political Change,” American Political Science Review 96, No. 4 (2002): 697-712; Rogan Kersh, “Rethinking Periodization? APD and the Macro-History of the United States,” Polity 37: 4 (Oct. 2005), pp. 513-522; Aili Mari Tripp, “Historical Perspectives in Comparative Politics and Gender Studies.” Politics & Gender 3, no. 3 (2007): 397–408.
3. Feb. 11 Settler Political Thought: Land, Dispossession, Revolution, and Empire
Reading: Aziz Rana, “Introduction: Liberty and Empire in the American Experience” The Two Faces of American Freedom (Harvard UP, 2010), 1-19; Jack P. Greene, “The Symbiotic Relationship between Liberty and Inequality in the Cultural Construction of Colonial British America and the United States: An Overview,” American Political Thought 5 (Fall 2016), 549-66; Craig Yirush, “The Idea of Rights in the Imperial Crisis,” Social Philosophy & Policy 29 (Jul 2012): 82-103; Carole Shammas, “Anglo-American Household Government in Comparative Perspective,” William and Mary Quarterly 52 (Jan. 1995), 104-45.
Recommended: Aziz Rana, “Settler Revolt and the Foundations of American Freedom,” The Two Faces of American Freedom, ch. 1, pp. 20-98; Nancy Isenberg,” Taking Out the Trash: Waste People in the New World” and “John Locke’s Lubberland: The Settlements of Carolina and Georgia” ch. 1& 2 of White Trash: The Four-Hundred-Year History of Class in America (Viking, 2016), 18-63; David Waldstreicher, Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery and the American Revolution (2004); Peter S. Onuf, “American Exceptionalism and National Identity,” American Political Thought 1:1 (Spring 2012), 77-99
4Feb. 18 Constituting the Republic
Reading: David Waldstreicher, “The Mansfieldian Moment: Slavery, the Constitution, and American Political Traditions,” Rutgers Law Journal 43 (2013), 471-86; Jan Ellen Lewis, “What Happened to the Three Fifths Clause: The Relationship Between Women and Slaves in Constitutional Thought, 1787-1866,” Journal of the Early Republic 37 (Spring 2017), 1-46; Joshua Simon, “Alexander Hamilton in Hemispheric Perspective,” The Ideology of Creole Revolution: Imperialism and Independence in American and Latin American Political Thought (Cambridge UP, 2017), 48-88; Gregory Ablavsky, “The Savage Constitution,” Duke Law Journal 63 (June 2014), 999-1089
Recommended:Sanford V. Levinson, “On the Inevitability of ‘Constitutional Design,’” 48 Arizona State Law Journal 249 (2016); Elvin T. Lim, “Political Thought, Political Development, and America’s Two Foundings,” American Political Thought 3 (2014),146-56; David Waldstreicher, Slavery’s Constitution: From Revolution to Ratification (2009); Max Edling, “Peace Pact and Nation: An International Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States,” Past and Present 240 (Aug. 2018), 267-303; David Brian Robertson, The Original Compromise (Oxford U. Press, 2013).
5. Feb. 25 Settlers: Labor(ing)
Reading:Christopher Tomlins, “Law, Population, Labor” in Tomlins and Grossberg eds., The Cambridge History of Law in America (Cambridge UP, 2008), 211-52; David R. Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class (New York: Verso, 1991), chapters 3-4, pp. 43-92; Nancy Isenberg, “Pedigree and Poor White Trash: Bad Blood, Half-Breeds, and Clay-Eaters” and “Cowards, Poltroons, and Mudsills: Civil War as Class Warfare” chapters 6 and 7 of White Trash: The Four-Hundred-Year History of Class in America (Viking, 2016), pp. 135-73; Gunther Peck, “Labor Abolitionism and the Politics of White Victimhood: Rethinking the History of Working-Class Racism,” Journal of the Early Republic 39 (Spring 2019), 89-98; Gordon, Jane Anna, and Keisha Lindsay. “Black on Red: Late-Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth-Century New World Black Interpretative Uses of Native American Political Experience.” The Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics 4, no. 2 (2019): 324–51.
Recommended: Barbara Fields, “Slavery, Race and Ideology in the United States” (1990/2011) in New Left Review (1990) or in Barbara Fields and Karen Fields, Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life; David F. Ericson, “The United States Military, State Development, and Slavery in the Early Republic.” Studies in American Political Development 31, no. 1 (2017): 130–48; Dana Frank, “White Working-Class Women and the Race Question.” International Labor and Working-Class History 54 (1998): 80–102; Catherine Carstairs, “Defining Whiteness: Race, Class, and Gender Perspectives in North American History.” International Labor and Working-Class History 60 (2001): 203–6.
6. March 3 Democracy in Theory and Practice
Reading:Reeve Huston, “Rethinking the Origins of Partisan Democracy in the United States, 1795-1840” in Daniel Peart and Adam I. P. Smith eds., Practicing Democracy: Popular Politics in the United States from the Constitution to the Civil War (2016), 46-71; Andrew W. Robertson, “Jeffersonian Parties, Politics and Participation: The Tortuous Trajectory of American Democracy” in Peart and Smith eds., Practicing Democracy, 99-122; Honor Sachs, Home Rule: Households, Manhood, and National Expansion on the Eighteenth-Century Kentucky Frontier (Yale UP, 2015), Introduction and ch. 5 (pp. 1-12, 120-43); Laura Edwards, “The Legal World of Elizabeth Bagby’s Commonplace Book: Federalism, Women, and Governance,” Journal of the Civil War Era 9 (Dec. 2019), 504-23; John L. Brooke, “Patriarchal Magistrates, Associated Improvers, and Monitoring Militias: Visions of Self-Government in the Early American Republic, 1760-1840” in Peter Thompson and Peter S. Onuf eds., State and Citizen: British America and the Early United States (UP of Virginia, 2013), 178-217
Recommended:David Waldstreicher, “The Nationalization and Racialization of American Politics: Before, Between, and Beneath Parties, 1790-1840” in Anthony J. Badger and Byron E. Shafer eds., Contesting Democracy: Structure and Substance in American Political History, 1775-2000 (University Press of Kansas, 2001), 37-63; Aziz Rana, “Citizens and Subjects in Postcolonial America,” The Two Faces of American Freedom, ch. 2, 99-175; Adam Dahl, Empire of the People: Settler Colonialism and the Foundations of Modern Democratic Thought (2017); Alvin B. Tillery, Jr., “Tocqueville as Critical Race Theorist: Whiteness as Property, Interest Convergence, and the Limits of Jacksonian Democracy” Political Research Quarterly 62, No. 4 (Dec., 2009); Rosemarie Zagarri, Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic (2009)
7. March 10 Settlers: Migrating and Warring
Reading:Jason M. Opal, “General Jackson’s Passports: Natural Rights and Sovereign Citizens in the Political Thought of Andrew Jackson, 1780s-1820s,” Studies in American Political Development 27 (2013): 69-85; Laurel Clark Shire, “Turning Sufferers into Settlers: Gender, Welfare, and National Expansion in Frontier Florida,” Journal of the Early Republic 33 (2013); Anna O. Law, “Lunatics, Idiots, Paupers, and Negro Seamen—Immigration Federalism and the Early American State.” Studies in American Political Development 28, no. 2 (2014): 107–28; Paul Frymer, “‘A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours’: Territorial Expansion, Land Policy, and U.S. State Formation,” Perspectives on Politics 12: 1 (March 2014), pp. 119-144
Recommended: Michael Paul Rogin, “Liberal Society and the Indian Question,” Fathers and Children: Andrew Jackson and the Subjugation of the American Indian (1975), 3-15; Nicole Eustace, 1812: War and the Passions of Patriotism (2011), especially ch. 1 and 5; Fred Anderson and Andrew Cayton, The Dominion of War: Empire and Liberty in North America, 1500-2000 (2010); Theda Skocpol, Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins of Social Policy in the United States (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992).
———————- Remote Instruction begins via Slack
8. March 17 Racial Orders, Mobility, and (Second) Civil War/Revolution/Reconstruction
Reading:Van Gosse, “Racial Orders in the United States, 1790-1860,” Journal of the Early Republic, forthcoming Spring 2020; Gautham Rao, “The Federal Posse Comitatus Doctrine: Slavery, Compulsion, and Statecraft in Mid-Nineteenth-Century America,” Law and History Review 26 (Spring, 2008), pp. 1-56; Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor, Colored Travelers: Mobility and the Fight for Citizenship before the Civil War (2016), Introduction and ch. 2 “Becoming Mobile in an Age of Segregation,” pp. 1-9, 44-75; Amy Dru Stanley, “The Sovereign Market and Sex Difference: Human Rights in America” in Sven Beckert and Christine Desan, American Capitalism: New Histories (Columbia UP, 2018), 140-69.
Recommended: Gautham Rao, “The State the Slaveholders Made: Regulating Fugitive Slaves in the Early Republic” in T. Freyer and L. Campbell eds., Freedom’s Conditions in the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands in the Age of Emancipation (Durham NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2011), 88-108; Kate Masur, “State Sovereignty and Migration Before Reconstruction,” Journal of the Civil War Era 9 (Dec. 2019); Nancy Isenberg, Sex and Citizenship in Antebellum America (1998); Carole Shammas, “The Household’s Civil War in an Era of Domestic Bliss,” A History of Household Government in America (UP of Virginia, 2001), ch. 5, pp. 108-44;l Woody Holton, “Equality as Unintended Consequence: The Contracts Clause and the Married Women’s Property Acts,” Journal of Southern History (May 2015), pp.313-340; Laura Edwards, “Reconstruction and the History of Governance” in Gregory Downs and Kate Masur eds., The World the Civil War Made (University of North Carolina Press, 2015), 22-45; Aziz Rana, “Freedom Struggles and the Limits of Constitutional Continuity” 71 Md. L. Rev. 1015 (2012); William A. Blair, “Vagabond Voters and Racial Suffrage in the Jacksonian Era,” Journal of the Civil War Era 9 (2019), 569-87.
9. March 24 Manifest Domesticity & Imperialism
Reading:Amy Kaplan, The Anarchy of Empire in the Making of U.S. Culture (Harvard University Press, 2005),Intro and ch. 1; Desmond S. King, and Rogers M. Smith, “Racial Orders in American Political Development,” American Political Science Review 99, no. 1 (2005): 75–92; Carol Nackenoff, “The Private Roots of American Political Development: The Immigrants’ Protective League’s ‘Friendly and Sympathetic Touch,’ 1908–1924.” Studies in American Political Development 28, no. 2 (2014): 129–60; Eileen McDonagh, The Motherless State, Women’s Political Leadership and American Democracy (University of Chicago Press, 2009), Chp. 6; Mark W. Van Weinen, “W. E. B. Du Bois, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and “A Suggestion on ‘The Negro Problem,’” American Literary Realism 48 No. 1 (2015): 25-39.
Recommended:Gretchen Ritter, “Gender and Politics over Time.” Politics & Gender 3, no. 3 (2007): 386–97; Amy Kaplan, “Manifest Domesticity,” American Literature 70, no. 3 (1998): 581-606; Amy Kaplan and Donald Pease Cultures of United States Imperialism (Duke University Press, 1993) excerpts
10. March 31 Regressive Progressives
Reading:Alexander Sanger “Eugenics, Race, and Margaret Sanger Revisited: Reproductive Freedom for All?,” Hypatia 22 (2007): 210-17; Priscilla Yamin, “The Search for Martial Order: Civic Membership and the Politics of Marriage in the Progressive Era,” Polity, Vol. 41, No. 1 (Jan., 2009), 86-112; Julie Novkov, “Bringing the States Back In: Understanding Legal Subordination and Identity through Political Development,” Polity, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jan., 2008), pp. 24-48; Yvonne Pitts, “Disability, Scientific Authority, and Women’s Political Participation at the Turn of the Twentieth-Century United States,” Journal of Women’s History, 24 (2012): 37-61; Adolph Reed, “DuBois’s ‘Double Consciousness’: Race and Gender in Progressive Era American Thought.” Studies in American Political Development 6, no. 1 (1992): 93–139; 93–139.
Recommended: Dana Seitler, “Unnatural Selection: Mothers, Eugenic Feminism, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Regeneration Narratives,” American Quarterly 55 (2003): 61-88; Thomas C. Leonard, “More Merciful and Not Less Effective”: Eugenics and American Economics in the Progressive Era,” History of Political Economy, 35 (2003): 687-712; Randall Hansen and Desmond S. King, “Eugenic Ideas, Political Interests, and Policy Variance: Immigration and Sterilization Policy in Britain and the U.S.” World Politics 53 (2001): 237-63; Bruce Baum, The Rise and Fall of the Caucasian Race: A Political History of Racial Identity (New York University Press, 2006); Anna Stubblefield, Ethics Along the Color Line (Cornell University Press, 2005).
11. April 7New Deal Emoting or New Deal Buy Body Building
Reading:Ira Katznelson, Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time (New York: Liveright, 2014),. Intro & ch 1; Ruth O’Brien, Workers’ Paradox: The Republican Origins of the New Deal, Ch 1; Lisa McGirr, The War on Alcohol, Prohibition and the Rise of the American State (Norton, 2016), excerpt; Theda Skocpol and Kenneth Finegold, “State Capacity and Economic Intervention in the Early New Deal,” Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 97, No. 2 (Summer, 1982), pp. 255-278; Jessica Wang, “Imagining the Administrative State: Legal Pragmatism, Securities Regulation, and New Deal Liberalism.” Journal of Policy History 17, no. 3 (2005): 257–93.
RecommendedCathy J. Cohen & David R Mayhew in “A Discussion of Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time, By Ira Katznelson,” Perspectives on Politics 12, no. 3 (2014): 708–13; Margaret Weir,“States, Race, and the Decline of New Deal Liberalism,” Studies in American Political Development 19, no. 2 (2005): 157–72.
12. April 21 Intertwining, embedding the CRA and the creation of the EEOCt
Readings: Ira Katznelson, “When Is Affirmative Action Fair? On Grievous Harms and Public Remedies,” Social Research, Vol. 73, No. 2, (Summer 2006), pp. 541-568; Hugh Davis Graham, The Civil Rights Era: Origins and Development 1960-1972 (Oxford University Press, 1990), Chp. 5 or pp. 125-152; Sarah Staszak, “Institutions, Rulemaking, and the Politics of Judicial Retrenchment,” Studies in American Political Development 24, no. 2 (2010): 168–89; David A. Hollinger, “The Disciplines and the Identity Debates, 1970-1995.” Daedalus 126, no. 1 (1997): 333-51; David A. Bateman, Ira Katznelson, and John Lapinski. “Southern Politics Revisited: On V. O. Key’s ‘South in the House,’” Studies in American Political Development 29, no. 2 (2015): 154–84.; Gloria Anzaldua, “This Bridge Called My Back” in This Bridge Called My Back: The Gloria Anzaldua Reader (Duke University Press, 2009), excerpt; Danielle L. McGuire, At the Dark End of the Street, Back Women, Rape and Resistance, a New History of the Civil Rights Movement From Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power, prologue or pp. xv-xxii.
13. April 28 Righting the Right under the Civil Rights Many Movement
Reading:Lisa McGirr, Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right (Princeton University Press, revised ed. 2015), selections; Michael J. Graetz and Linda Greenhouse, The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right (Simon & Schuster, 2016), Lewis Powell memorandum excerpt; Kundai Chirindo, “Paradigmatic and Syntagmatic Approaches to the Obama Presidency,” Rhetoric and Public Affairs 19 No. 3 (2016): 491-504; Jill Lepore, The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party and the Battle for American History (Princeton University Press, 2010), Prologue; Stephen M. Engel, “Developmental Perspectives on Lesbian and Gay Politics: Fragmented Citizenship in a Fragmented State,” Perspectives on Politics 13, no. 2 (2015): 287–311.
RecommendedThomas B. Edsall, Building Red America: The New Conservative Coalition and the Drive for Permanent Power (New York: Basic Books, 2006); Ruth O’Brien, Out of Many, One: Obama and the Third Tradition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), Chp. 3 and Epilogue; Andrew Marantz, Anti-Social, Online Extremists, Techno-Utopias and the Hijacking of the American Conversation (2019), (Identity Evropa) Chps. 12 and 27; Mark, Neven “Nixon Loyalists, Barry Goldwater, and Republican Support for President Nixon during Watergate.” Journal of Policy History 29, no. 3 (2017): 403–30.
14. May 5 Trump: A Departure?Reading: Students brainstorm readings
Representative (now Senator) Chuck Grassley called my mother when I was 18 years old. Why? I had just graduated from the Capitol Page School, with the nation’s highest-paid teachers in terms of money per student, with a 99.999999% graduation rate not just from high school but from some of the best universities in our nation. I ratted the school out for the inferior instruction it offered.* Congressman Grassley said my mother should be proud of me for being a whistleblower — and I guess he knew what I had weathered. I don’t know.
A good friend of mine says he is evil. She is a litigator and understands how Grassley is “gaslighting” Professor Christine Blasey Ford. I agree — what could I say other than “he called my mother”? But to be honest, when he called my mother, she was not impressed, as I remember. Only impressed enough to relay the quick call. I didn’t think a thing about it until I spoke with my litigator friend (why would I?) — he became a Senator, and while he supports whistleblowers, they are largely the ones who whistle the Republican tune. Look what he’s doing to Ford now!
When it came time for college, most of my relatives faced a choice — the farm (Stanford) versus the city (Berkeley). For me, the choice was not the farm versus the city. My mom wanted me to go to a small women’s liberal-arts school, preferably the one she had attended, not one of those Seven Sisters schools. Not only the Sister schools were excluded; my mom was also down on the Ivies, even though my ancestor helped start one — a proFESSor of religion, no less, helped found Brown University by proFESSing religion at the Hopewell Academy, which later moved to Rhode Island (Anabaptist country). No one was going to the East Coast Establishment.
Meanwhile, Stanford — where they ruined women, I was told — and anything east of Los Angeles were out. So I came home, back West to California, as was appropriate. My mother managed to get me/allow me (she had no control, since I was writing my own applications far from home) to go to an all-male college that was turning co-ed. Now that was no fun -— or was it fun? Actually, I enjoyed it. It had been Claremont Men’s College, and after coeducation they found a donor whose name began with M, and it became Claremont McKenna College, preserving the CMC acronym.
But first they had to deal with the GCO Club — Get Cunts Out — of diehard misogynists. Seems kinda like the club that Brett Kavanagh would join — or was that only in high school?
Why won’t he allow the FBI to do a full investigation, anyhow? Why does he want to enter the Supreme Court with a rapist cloud over his head? After all, Clarence Thomas didn’t even speak in court for over a decade, knowing how little credibility he had/has. Who made the last phone call to Anita — his wife, no less? Wasn’t that bizarre? My only guess would be she got hammered one night and is still mad about how Clarence cheated on her — or didn’t tell her the full story that she knows/suspects, and that’s about his predilection for pornography.
* I ratted them out despite being threatened in front of the whole school for maligning a 150-year-old institution, since I was the rat “going” over there — the Doorkeeper’s Door — and complaining that we weren’t getting enough education. All the House of Representatives pages followed the few Senate pages’ problem — that pages could no longer go to school from 6:00 to 9:00, but instead from 6:00 to 6:30 or 7:00, including the breakfast break. Then they reduced our classes to five, but we still only got as far as roll call before leaving. I was in school, yet I was learning absolutely nothing, and the principal’s and vice principal’s defense was — anyway, full circle. I ratted them out. I was not the first or the last, and it was under Speaker of the House John Boehner that they got rid of House pages in 2011.
I woke with a start after only four hours. I had been listening to a podcast late at night, when the name of my own #MeToo surfaced. I had also seen a map of the town this week where he came from (it’s small enough that I’m sure I could track him down. Being a smart neocon, I bet he’s probably successful. Who knows? I don’t have the strength to look it up, yet).
I lived through Anita Hill’s debacle. Do we have to go through it again? I lived through Christine Blasey Ford’s nightmare. I too could not face what I knew, what every woman my age knew: that reporting leads to escalation, and escalation leads to the victim — boy, girl, woman, man — and you’re thrown out. I told about it only to intimate figures in my life — husband, boyfriends, children who came of age.
On Saturday I couldn’t look at the press. My husband, Fred, an editor who knows politics, had spared me the news of nominee Brett Kavanagh’s rape (which at that point was still an anonymous accusation) until after work on Friday. (Fred says: “I waited to tell Ruth because I knew it would disturb her, especially in view of her history, and would distract her from her work.”)
Now the question was whether it would derail his nomination. I knew the news that was released on Friday would be played out by Monday, with three possibilities in the “blame the victim” rape culture in which we live:
The information that came to light will be dismissed, and the rapist will be put on the Supreme Court. This seemed the most likely outcome on Saturday, when the story was not on the front page above the fold of theNew York Times.
The vulnerable hero will bravely come forward and will be roundly belittled and dismissed. (This is the nightmare that all persons who have been raped fear the most.)
The vulnerable hero will bravely face the nation, as Anita Hill did. She will be put on trial in the court of public opinion, and her loved ones, colleagues, and most of all she herself will have to field all the horrific comments, death threats, etc., for doing the right thing, the brave thing, that very few victims of rape can do.
It’s no excuse that “men think with their dicks” or “boys will be boys” or any other outrageous statement that a content, complicit man will say, think, or do.
How can Christine Blasey be so brave, is all I need to know. Plus two other things:
We cannot shield children from allegations that their fathers are rapists, and witnesses will testify no matter how many decades old — then it’s time for them to step back to resign for “family” reasons. (Think of your children, Brett).
Congress could institute real, national changes in laws to protect women now. Recess for Mid-terms, or no.
Enough is enough. #MeToo should now flip into #Enough. Meanwhile, Congress — Democrats and Republicans — should amend (ERA) and legislate. After all, it had to make lynching a federal crime though murder has and had always been illegal and a state and local crime.