élite institutions like Georgetown Prep, where Brett Kavanaugh was a
student, high |
school doesn’t end when you’re eighteen; it’s a lifelong circle of mutual support.
Perhaps I am beating a dead horse, but I continue to believe that Brett Kavanaugh NOT be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court regardless of whether or not he assaulted Christine Blasey Ford as alleged. Why? Because he epitomizes the mindset that has fostered bigotry and discrimination for decades, if not far longer. It is noteworthy that 1000 alumni of Blasey Ford's high school have signed a letter stating that the facts of her allegations against Kavanaugh is completely consistent with the atmosphere that they witnessed and experienced. A lengthy piece in The New Yorker looks at the system that formed Kavanaugh and it makes it clear that Kavanaugh is incapable of identifying with those not from his privileged white world. Here are excerpts:
Ten days later, Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University, publicly accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a high-school house party in Bethesda, Maryland. Ford described Kavanaugh as “stumbling drunk” at the time of the assault. He has flatly denied the accusation. His defenders point out that she dates the assault to thirty-six years ago, when Kavanaugh was only a teen-ager. But Kavanaugh has made his high-school years a very prominent part of his personal narrative. In a speech three years ago at Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law, Kavanaugh said, “What happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep,” adding, of himself and his friends, “That’s been a good thing for all of us, I think.” When he answered Kennedy in the Senate hearings, Kavanaugh mentioned that Jim Fegan, his high-school football coach, had texted him just three nights before, and that since being nominated he’s been running on the Georgetown Prep track on the weekends. Some people put high school behind them. Kavanaugh has not.Kavanaugh managed to avoid testifying on whether he snuck a few beers past Jesus. But, as has been widely reported, the inside jokes on his high-school yearbook page list him as the treasurer of the “Keg City Club” and a member of the “Beach Week Ralph Club,” and make reference to “100 Kegs or Bust.” Close readers of his yearbook page have debated whether “Have You Boofed Yet?” refers to the practice of anally ingesting alcohol or drugs. According to many graduates of Washington prep schools, the party culture described in yearbooks often created occasions for sexual harassment and assault. More than a thousand women who attended Holton-Arms, the girls’ school from which Ford graduated, have signed a letter that describes the alleged assault as “all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending Holton. Many of us are survivors ourselves.”
Now the rest of us are learning about the hierarchy of Washington private schools—about what it meant, in the eighties, to go to Georgetown Prep as opposed to Landon or Gonzaga, and about the girls’ schools Stone Ridge, Visitation, and Holton-Arms. By all appearances, the kids from these prep schools almost exclusively socialize with one another, and that social network informs their identities for the rest of their lives. As reporters have investigated Kavanaugh’s high-school years, many alumni have expressed fear about going on the record and alienating themselves from a close-knit community. “I guess you could call it a fraternity between a bunch of rich kids,” an anonymous alumnus of Georgetown Prep, who overlapped with Kavanaugh there, told the Huff Post. “All this shit happens, and then nobody really wants to talk about it, because if one person crumbles, the whole system crumbles, and everybody tells on everybody.” I spoke with another Georgetown Prep alumnus, who hated high school but still didn’t want to go on the record about what it was like there. Even for those who take less pride in the institution, what happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep.
What Kavanaugh appears to have been taught, as a young person, is that goodness is working at a soup kitchen or volunteering on a mission to a poorer country; it’s granted to other people as an act of charity. Meanwhile, less good behavior would be tolerated, as long as it happened under the veil of drunkenness, or as a joke. The Jesuit fathers would turn a blind eye to the yearbook, and U.S. senators would chuckle at frat-boy antics. In this world, high school doesn’t end when you’re eighteen; it’s a lifelong circle of mutual support, an in-crowd that protects itself.
One quote on Kavanaugh’s yearbook page is an apparent reference to his friend Mark Judge, who Ford says was in the room when Kavanaugh assaulted her. Judge, who says he has “no memory” of the incident and that he does not want to testify, is the author of a 1997 memoir called “Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk.” The quote is from Benjamin Franklin ; the emphasis is Kavanaugh’s: “He that would live in peace and at ease must not speak all he knows, nor JUDGE all he sees.” The next few days will show whether Kavanaugh was right to place his faith in this system.