The Rancid Privilege of a Life Destroyed

A friend of mine in a private forum recently reminded me of a point I really wanted to make about this Brett Kavanaugh nonsense.

It takes an enormous level of privilege to think Brett Kavanaugh’s life is being destroyed.

Let’s imagine for a moment something that we know to be untrue—that Brett Kavanaugh is the virginal angel he pretends to be. Let’s pretend that he didn’t assault anyone. Let’s pretend that he’s not a rabid partisan. Let’s pretend that he’s the perfect jurist for someone on the Republican side of the aisle.

That’s a lot of pretending, I know.

That makes all the accusations lies. It means his reputation has been damaged—probably permanently—by something entirely untrue. It means he might be denied a position he really wants due to the political machinations of people from his distant past.

In the worst case scenario, he not only loses out on the Supreme Court seat, but faces impeachment and removal from his current seat as well as permanent persona-non-grata status at the nation’s law schools. He won’t be able to be a judge anywhere or teach in any law schools anywhere.

I’d be pissed if that happened to me.

My life would not be destroyed.

Even if all that were true—and, reminder, we know it’s not—Brett Kavanaugh has a wife who presumably still loves him. He has children who presumably still love him. If his nomination crashes and burns in the most dramatic way possible, he will still be able to find lucrative employment at a right-wing law firm or think tank, and he’ll have a promising future on the martyr circuit.

Meanwhile, there are parents who will be unable to feed their children today. There are women who are going to be beaten by the people they love. There are parents who will sit at the bedsides of their dying children. There are parents who will be selecting caskets. There are spouses who will have to make the decision to take the person they love most in the world off of life support.

There are people whose lives are destroyed—by illness, accident, and addiction—on a daily basis. I know. It happened to me recently. My wife passed away in July. I had to make the decision to take her off life support. If I could get her back by having a Senate committee destroy my reputation, become a political pawn, and have the President of the United States mock me in front of thousands of sycophantic douchebros, I couldn’t sign up for that quickly enough.

The degree of privilege it takes to think that losing out on one of the best jobs in the country, perhaps even losing the great job you already have—jobs with high salaries, a real impact on the world, and that come with respect by the bushel—is having your life destroyed is absurd and everyone making that point should be embarrassed.

If you can go home at night to a nice house with a healthy family, your life has not been destroyed. You’ve just experienced the same kind of hardship everyday Americans experience on a daily basis. That you feel your life has been destroyed shows you feel you’re above it all, that you’re entitled not just to a chance at a good life, but to an actual good life.

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