We’re still in overboard mode

Opposition, Indifference, Hostility! #Me Too! Innocent until proven guilty! Left-wing liberals and right-wing radicals! I was sexually assaulted 36 years ago, it was him!

No, I wasn’t even there, it wasn’t me! Teenagers drinking at a party at the ages of 14 and 16, maybe some younger and maybe some older! He tried to take my clothes off! It wasn’t me! And finally, “I’m 100 percent positive.”

And now, the rest of the story — but let’s start from the beginning. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was assaulted at the age of about 14 while attending a party with other teenagers who were drinking and doing what teenagers did some 36 years ago; those are the facts that she shared with Sen. Dianne Feinstein in June or July. She said the perpetrator was Brett Kavanaugh.

Senator Feinstein held the letter during a contentious and bi-partisan hearing to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court until the week before the confirmation vote was to take place. In my opinion, Diane Feinstein did no one any favors by withholding this information until it looked as if Judge Brett Kavanaugh would be confirmed. Was this an intentional attempt to sabotage the confirmation, throw a grenade into the hearing process, or just an act of pure partisanship? In any event, she was wrong to do what she did.

To say that this confirmation process for Judge Kavanaugh has further divided the country is an understatement. Everyone is choosing sides based on whether men should be held accountable for “crimes” they may or may not have committed during the last century. The “Me Too” movement has taken on the air of burning witches at the stake as was done in Boston back in the 1700s! I was glad to see Bill Cosby found guilty and given a jail sentence for the heinous drugging and raping of women; he deserved that and more. I am glad to see Harvey Weinstein being charged with and found guilty of assaulting, raping, molesting and preying on the innocence of many vulnerable women. There are others like Cosby and Weinstein who deserve to be outed and given prison sentences. But not without corroborating evidence.

It was the lack of such evidence that allowed Sens. Susan Collins, Jeff Flake and the 48 others to vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. Collins later told Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes,” “I would never vote for someone who had committed sexual assault or who had lied about sexual assault that’s not a hard call for me. I would have voted no if I disbelieved Judge Kavanaugh, but given his denials and the lack of evidence that this happened I just did not think that it was fair to ruin the life of this distinguished judge and his family over allegations that cannot be proven.” The individuals Dr. Ford claimed knew of the assault, were unable to corroborate her story to the FBI.

The effects of this accusation moved the country. It brought the world of everyone involved to a standstill with threats against their lives and the lives of their family members. Dr. Ford had to relocate, senators were accosted in restaurants and protests sprang up across the country and in Washington D.C. And there was no corroborating evidence that the assailant was Judge Kavanaugh!

I am not coming down on the side of one or the other, here. I feel like the “Me Too” movement has gone overboard and it is time to bring things back to some element of reasonableness. Senator John Kennedy probably summed it up best when he commented about the claim made by another accuser of Judge Kavanaugh, “I think this process changed dramatically when Mr. Avenatti entered the picture. I think a lot of people, including many of my Democratic colleagues, felt like, at that point, we had gotten into the foothills of the preposterous.” It is this type of “piling on” that makes the legitimate claims of sexual assault taken less seriously.

Times they are a’changin’ — 20 or 30 years ago things were different. What men did in those days are not the same things they would do today. We have evolved! Women are accepted in a manner today much differently than they were back in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and even ’90s. It isn’t a “Father Knows Best” or “Leave it to Beaver” world anymore. That doesn’t mean what happened back then wasn’t wrong, it simply means that we have evolved as a people and slapping one on the backside, or trying to steal a kiss in the elevator is no longer acceptable — not that it should have ever been — we are all more aware of what is and is not acceptable today. But how far back must we go to ruin someone’s life . . . without corroborating evidence?

What happened to Dr. Ford had to be traumatic. It was obviously a life-altering event, and from watching her testimony I feel certain that she believes strongly that her words were true.

What has happened to Judge Kavanaugh and his family must surely be traumatic as well. I feel certain that he believes he was not the assailant and that his testimony was truthful.

So enough! We have once again been dragged through the muddy waters of partisanship by our elected officials as they slither through the hallways of Congress and spend our hard-earned money to take down honor and justice. When will it be enough to just do the right thing without regard to what political party one belongs?

If one is a democrat can they not support a republican and vice-versa? Does every woman have a “Me Too” message? Should every man who has ever transgressed the boundaries of “a woman’s personal space” be burned at the stake? This latest episode in our nation’s history has only succeeded to further the divide in our country . . . antithesis, apathy, antipathy? There’s an election coming up in November – VOTE!

Have a great day.

Vicki Westling is a Dunkirk resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com