This isn’t a satirical, or humorous post. After spending the last few hours watching the testimonies of Christine Blasey Ford, and Brett Kavanaugh in turn, I can’t muster any flippancy, or acerbity, or absurdity, to do the work it usually does on this site. And, equally, am unable to move on from this subject tonight, transfixed like many by the image of Dr. Ford standing in that room. Standing up for her younger self. Standing for the values of our society mattering as advertised, not simply when they are convenient, or suit. Standing for another fight, for the human need to seek equity, and justice, in a world that tends towards chaos, and disorder.
Those images we saw today are fresh, and watched for the first time. But the distance between ourselves in the present, and the people in the future who will watch recordings of this moment, is very, very short. In the blink of a historic eye, people will be marvelling at the odd clothes worn in 2018, the unusual inflections of speech, and the preponderance of men sitting on the one side of the power equation, and – commensurately – women on the other side of it. And what will they make of all this? I think they will say that it was a hard time to be a hero.
Clearly we are in a contraction of times; a tightening and tensing of social currents and fabrics. Everything is in motion at the moment. The old norms of different rule books for different people are being challenged, while new gains that have been recently made in the areas of equality, and global decency, are at the same time being overturned – or worst yet, gone around. Bold change is afoot, even as the inertia of the past grabs at its heels.
These contractions have come before, and – as a casual glance at recent history shows – are happening ever more rapidly as we progress into this century. What are we building to? What is coming, and when? Of course I have no idea, and despite still being relatively young, think it’s unlikely I will see it arrive in my time. But it is my hope that all of this repetitive, sweating labour, is leading to the birth of an entirely new paradigm. One in which the level of justice and security a person can expect isn’t pro-rated to their privilege, class, colour, or gender. One in which empathy, and commitment to decency, doesn’t stop at the bounds of a border, or school district, or political alliance. And one in which people will look at figures like Dr. Ford, and say that it was a hard time to be a hero.