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.
1. Really? Peter Baker and Carl Hulse
think I’m a woman of a certain age. O.K., this can include men. No doubt. The subtext of the phrasing, however, does not. (After all, Ray Romano was in a show called “Men of a Certain Age.”)
2. Not an “echo” — but a reverberation from a rape-culture stereo. Anita Hill was only one of many. We women — “those of a certain age” — got that back in the day
(i.e. 1991 — neoliberalism). It’s a reverberation, given how many times we’ve heard the phrase echo and it turns out to be hollow. Where is #MeTooism, legislatively, anyway?
3. Triangulating those women of a certain age with rape (no need to make a joke about date rape here) means we all got/get that rape is only one thing — violence — and is punishable by civil and criminal law, not either/or.
It doesn’t matter if it’s an echo or a reverberation; what we do know is will it be a trigger for any kind of real reform?
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.