The day America died.

I have felt weighed down and sad all day today. It could just be the accumulated stress of teaching elderly people for half the day and being taught myself the other half of the day, but today’s senate hearing has definitely amplified this weight that I carry daily as an American woman.

I am told that I am free, that I have the same value as any man, that I will be believed and respected, and that my political representatives want to protect my rights. But the behaviors of party-driven politicians and close-minded citizens have proven to me that the America I thought I lived in has died.

Today there was no respect for the woman. Regardless of the veracity of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations, her case should have been handled differently. Her original wish to remain confidential didn’t come to fruition, and instead she found herself being televised to the whole nation as she relived one of the most traumatic moments of her life.

“I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.”

I have read through her words many times, and each time I physically shudder as she details the assault. It is terrible that anyone would ever think of doing those things, let alone actually enjoy attacking someone in such a cruel, senseless way. She even said that “talking about [her assault] caused [her] to relive the trauma, so [she] tried not to think about it or discuss it.” To go from never talking about this encounter to willingly discussing these closely held scars in front of one of the most powerful governmental bodies in the world takes an immeasurable amount of bravery. I would never be so brave.

But I can’t help thinking that this was handled wrong. Politicians on both sides jumped on her story and spun it in whatever way they could to make it work for them. The only reason behind holding a public, televised hearing instead of a closed-door hearing was to discredit Republicans by casting a negative light on their precious Supreme Court nominee. Ford never said the Democrats forced her to testify publicly, yet she definitely didn’t want to. She said she was fulfilling her civic duty, but surely she could have done so in another more private way. While I appreciate the words of affirmation and solidarity from many Senate Democrats, it sometimes felt fake and contrived. But at least they uttered the words.

The Republicans on the other hand were no better; in fact I would say they were far worse. Brett Kavanaugh did not act in a way that I think a potential Supreme Court Justice should. With his sweeping generalizations of the other party and his defiant anger, I saw that regardless of whether or not he assaulted Ford he was someone I could not tolerate on the highest court in the country. He was not kind to women—his actions towards Senator Klobuchar were quite rude. While I didn’t appreciate his attitude, I understand that he was in a tough spot and was trying to defend his reputation. However, my blood boiled while listening to Senator Graham’s words. “What you want to do is destroy [Kavanaugh’s] life, hold this seat open, and hope you win in 2020.” Disgusting. This is disgusting, and people are praising him! He had the audacity to say the democrats were destroying Kavanaugh’s life, when in reality the issue at hand was how Kavanaugh may or may not have literally destroyed some part of Ford’s. Why does he care more about political power and a seat on the Supreme Court than an American citizen’s life? It is outrageous to me, and it is clear that a large handful of politicians today do not care about the people they represent.

In his Gettysburg Address, President Lincoln said, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” but today it perished a little bit. America is torn in a million different ways, and a country divided will certainly fall. The polarization of this country has done nothing good. Not today and not ever. When will we as citizens be able to respect those whose views are different than our own? When will our senators and representatives be able to look across the aisle and realize they are there for the same purpose—the people? When will we truly begin to believe women and treat them as equals? When will we start making America great again?

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