Judging Kavanaugh

Jeff Salzman Free, Perspectives, The Daily Evolver, World Affairs 7 Comments


The political firestorm surrounding the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanagh to the Supreme Court is a juicy case for an integral analysis.

Today Jeff shares his insights into the testimony presented to the Senate Judiciary Committee by both Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing him of attacking her as a teenager. He considers:

  • How do we process two perspectives that are in diametric opposition?
  • Why and how we should “take it personally”
  • How to navigate the predictable political polarization
  • The cultural forces at play in this case and how they are moving us forward.

Stay tuned for more episodes of The Daily Evolver, broadcast live every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 PM MT, only on Integral Live.

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Today I’m joined by Corey DeVos, editor-in-chief of Integral Life. I invited him on because my job is highlighting the emergence of integral consciousness, and I have been really impressed with the stuff Corey and company are putting out these days. (Plus they host my live show twice a week, and I want them to know I love them!)
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About Jeff Salzman

Jeff Salzman worked with Ken Wilber for several years in building the Integral Institute. He is a co-founder of Boulder Integral, the first bricks-and-mortar venue dedicated to the development of integral consciousness. These days Jeff provides integrally-inspired commentary on politics and culture on Integral Life and The Daily Evolver.

Notable Replies

  1. Since Jeff read a brief excerpt of something I sent him for this episode, I figure I would post the rest of my comments here:

    I am not going to fault Kavanaugh for crying in his opening statement. When I was falsely accused of sexual assault in the mid 90s I was terrified and cried for hours, until she came to her senses a few hours later and admitted she was lying. So it’s entirely possible he is crying because he feels trapped and helpless, much as I remember feeling when all this happened. When I step into his perspective and fully suspend my disbelief, my heart breaks.

    Or he could be crying for a different reason. It could be because of a different kind of heart-clenching terror, the kind that comes with seeing his chickens come home to roost, and watching his life’s accomplishments crumble around him because of a reprehensible violation he may have committed in his youth.

    All that said, I do not find his opening defense compelling. He is lashing out at his accuser(s), at the left, and even at the Clintons, which I think is further revealing his partisan colors.

    In the end, he is not fit for a seat on SCOTUS. Not because he is “guilty until proven innocent”. This is not a criminal hearing. This is a job interview. Which means that the question is not, “is he guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?” This is not the time or place to answer that. The question is, “is he QUALIFIED beyond a reasonable doubt to occupy a lifetime seat in the highest court in the land?”

    No, he is not. Considering the number of accusers, the credibility of Ford’s testimony, the lack of a proper investigation, and especially the lack of transparency around Kavanaugh’s full professional history, there is far too much reasonable doubt around both his character and his qualifications.

    I want a proper and thorough investigation. The American people deserve nothing less. The accusers deserve nothing less. Hell, Kavanaugh himself deserves nothing less, especially if he is innocent.

  2. That’s a good evaluation on this very contentious issue, Corey. I just hope he becomes disqualified. If he does,
    will he still be able to practice law? I prefer he wouldn’t but it seems a high price for him to pay to have his life entirely ruined for what he did. Does IT regard restorative justice as a better way to go than our present punitive justice system?

  3. That’s a great question regarding restorative justice and an Integral analysis on the matter would be fascinating. Tamler Sommer’s new book “Why Honor Matters” elucidates the importance of a restorative justice approach, and how restorative justice originated from red and amber societies, and found a resurgence in green, which is a needed addition to our currently sterile and value-neutral orange approaches.

  4. I’m reminding myself we have yet to hear any findings from the FBI’s short and short-circuited investigation; I don’t think Kavanaugh will get an “all clear” from that, but I’m not holding my breath that any findings of “wrong-doing” will change the outcome.

    I basically think Kavanaugh took a page from Trump’s playbook–“it’s a witch hunt.” It’s worked for Trump, at least with his base supporters, so why shouldn’t it work for Kavanaugh? And by playing this card, Kavanaugh gave Trump the perfect opportunity to (of course) make it all about himself, how he has been so wronged by–what is it now? 18 women alleging inappropriate and usually unwanted sexual behavior? Trump painting himself as a victim, as a sympathetic character, is a new absurdity in the theater of the absurd. With Trump and Kavanaugh both claiming to be targets of a witch hunt, one has to wonder if they weren’t somehow in cahoots in fashioning Kavanaugh’s statements.

    Which isn’t to say that a male isn’t sometimes falsely accused (and Corey, I am so sorry that that happened to you). But my sense is that neither Trump nor Kavanaugh is one of those males. While in the context of the #metoo and other related movements, there’s definitely a need for conversation around false accusations, that these particular men, and Trump’s son, would capitalize on that and be the ones leading that conversation over the public airwaves at this time is one of life’s little ironies, I suppose.

    As for Kavanaugh’s tearfulness, I felt as much empathy for him as I did for Blasey-Ford in her tremulousness. No big deal; humans, men, judges cry, at least I hope they do occasionally. And now that Kavanaugh has broken the ice for men’s softer or sadder emotions in a public forum, maybe we can move on from that.

    But I also had this thought, which Anita Hill voiced publicly the day after the Ford and Kavanaugh hearings. What if it had been a woman in Kavanaugh’s place, being as angry and belligerent and openly hostile and accusatory and partisan, and also constantly fighting back tears? How would she have been received in that committee? Would her lack of “judicial temperament” be excused away as is largely happening with Kavanaugh by many Republicans? And what would Mr. President have said about her? Megyn Kelly who dared to double-down on her tough questioning of Trump during the debates was scorned by Trump as having “blood coming out of her eyes, or her whatever.” Hillary Clinton has been barely able to raise her voice, or even an eyebrow for that matter, without being labeled a shrill bitch in some quarters. Methinks that that ‘whatever’ continues to be pretty troublesome for some red and amber males, in more ways than one.

  5. It’s been a fascinating week for sure. I think the culture is working through really deep issues around power and sexuality. This isn’t just a male issue either. #metoo is about women’s power, how we feel exerting power. Fear about how we are perceived and received exerting power. This is also about freedom and boundaries around sexuality. We are all players here. When I shift states it actually gets exciting. Something very powerful is getting brought forward. Painfully, but in the end it will be cathartic, even if he gets the seat. I think the hold orange power structures have are starting to give way to deeper individuated power structures. In the end I believe governmental power is will be transcended and included into a great sense of self power. He wins, but the process will weaken, for the good, the power of the institution.

    One thing that’s interesting is the way the Clinton’s keep being brought into this. Apparently Bill raped women too, yet, during his administration I don’t remember that ever being brought up. I remember the outrage was all around the infidelity. The Clintons were before the internet so I remember women being brought forward by these white men who were trying to “protect their virtue”. I was about the age of Monica at the time and I was offended. I was empowered and didn’t need these daddy figures to protect my virtue. I was defining that for myself. I never remember the word raped being used until the Trump/Hilary debates. The blue meme doesn’t see rape. They want to protect a woman’s virtue not discuss abuse of power. Women are protected, not by creating space for their empowerment, but by holding men to the rules.

    Then there is Hilary. Classes will be taught about Hilary. I said after the election that Hilary would have won if she had divorced Bill. Why didn’t she? I don’t think there is an easy answer there, but power and sex dynamics are playing out in very complex ways. I hope one day she can reflect on that and share what she experienced.

    I think sexuality is also playing out. I believe the cultural melt down actually started with the trans bathroom issue. The boundaries around gender/sexuality broke down very fast. It’s interesting watching it in my community and in my family. I never remember questioning by gender. It never occurred to me. All these kids are now doing it. My very boy crazy, butterfly loving, fairy like prancing daughter is convinced she is a bit of a boy. All my friends kids are doing this. None of us really know what it is. It’s ok, no one is bothered by it, but we are confused and interested because this is not something we remember experiencing. It seems to intensify during puberty. She was interested in gender at a younger age, but now she is insistent on it.

    These young kids are working through something. My guess is they perceive male/female power differentials and they want both! My daughter is very aware of the feminine power to seduce. She is also aware of the masculine power to overpower. I have no idea where this is going, but these kids are different. I believe that we are not born the same generationally. They come into this world with a different Karma. I am very excited about what I am seeing with this “gen-z” group. They are 2nd tier pre-wired! All is good

Continue the discussion at community.integrallife.com

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