Senators: It’s not too late to leave the gang
By Trish McReynolds and Sara Paretsky
When Trish McReynolds’s beautiful husky was shot by a macho, gun-toting neighbor, she sobbed “Why”? to her mother, who replied helplessly, “Because he could. He had the power.”
That hard answer came back to us as we listened to Sen. Grassley and the Con-Avenue Gang try to bully Dr. Ford into silence, just as Judge Kavanaugh tried to silence her 36 years ago, (allegedly) lying on top of her with his hands over her mouth.
Senators Grassley and Hatch have baldly stated to the world, that even if Kavanaugh committed rape, that wouldn’t be as important as the fact that he’s a sitting judge today.
Why didn’t Dr. Ford speak up when she was fifteen? These men – and a handful of women — ask? Because she knew Brett Kavanaugh had the power. Because women’s voices are perennially, perpetually silenced. Because the power to shame, scare, threaten us into silence is real.
We’ve seen this movie before. We know the script. A woman speaks out, at tremendous personal cost, and the most powerful gangs in the world, the Constitution Avenue gang – or the Wall Street or K Street or Main Street gangs – send their members a message: “‘Ho’ is getting out of line. Punish the ‘ho’.” Yes, Sen. Hatch, Sen. Grassley, you behave like members of MS-13 or the Vice Lords. You may not use the language in public, but to you, women are “‘bitches and ‘ho’s” who have to be kept in line.
If you’re a woman in any walk of life, you know that you have to scream to be heard – and even then, chances are good no one will listen. How many women had to scream before Harvey Weinstein was brought up short? How many women screamed about Trump during the run-up to the election? Rich and powerful men laughed them off: it’s okay to grab pussy because who’s going to stop you? No one: you have the power.
We watched this movie during Anita Hill’s testimony. We watch this movie in every fast-food restaurant in this country. We watch this movie at work, at home and we know the ending. They have the power.
But we will continue to speak, even as man-boys with power put their hands over our mouths, even as man-boys with power defame and threaten us. You belong to a powerful gang, Sen. Grassley, but we will not be silent. We will do our utmost to support Dr. Ford, support her as you seek to do to her what you and Sen. Hatch both did to Professor Hill.
You know the story, too, which is why you fear an FBI investigation: they may dig into the so-called “Clit and Slit” society Judge Kavanaugh belonged to at Yale and turn up other possible allegations of assault, other pussy grabs.
You have another chance, the two of you who led the charge against Anita Hill, to get it right, to turn your back on your gang, to let justice roll down like waters. You have the power. Use it this time for good.