What if he admitted it all and apologized?
What if he said that he had had a terrible drinking problem, had experienced black-outs, knew that he’d done wretched things while drunk but had gone through treatment or got religion and still goes to AA meetings three times a week?
What if he said he was sorry? What if he had tried to make amends?
Mr. Kavanaugh didn’t admit to anything. He angered up is what he did, swapping out a chance for humility and accountability for his old standby of indignation and aggression. I think he’s had a lot of practice getting mad at people trying to blow his cover.
My guess, and I’m no expert, I’ve just lived a long time and seen a lot, is that Mr. Kavanaugh is still a drunk, albeit a highly functional one. With enough practice, people can get really toasted to the point of black-outs every night and still get up and go to work in the morning. I know this for an absolute fact. No conjecture here.
Alcohol isn’t the only thing that is addictive for an alcoholic. So is the bullshitting, the denial, the lies. All that comes with the territory. So if my theory is right – that Mr. Kavanaugh is still a drunk – all of his lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee is just more of a lifetime of obfuscation, bald-faced lies, and cleverly blaming other people for bad things that happen as a result of his drinking. All of these things, every one of them, is part of the disease we call alcoholism. And it is a disease, not a moral failing, although there are times in the alcoholic’s clinging to his drinking that beg the question.
So what would have happened if Mr. Kavanaugh had taken responsibility for his drinking, been honest about the possibility that he might have done things he didn’t remember, taken Dr. Ford’s word for it, and said he was profoundly sorry?
What if he had said he’d been through treatment and still attended AA meetings, that he was in recovery and trying to help other people get out from under addiction? What if he had just laid himself bare and thrown himself on the mercy of the court as it were?
He would be praised for his honesty.
He would start a lot of healing.
He would probably be forgiven.
He would be an inspiration to people in recovery.
He would gain great respect from all corners.
He would get confirmed to a seat on the Supreme Court and we would all respect him while disagreeing vehemently with everything he says and does.
He would become a man of integrity and principle.
We Americans, we love the sinners who own up. It’s part of our second chance, no one is beyond redemption, Go West Young Man philosophy. Start over, go out and come in again, put your cards on the table, confess and ask forgiveness, we Americans, we’re all about reinventing ourselves. Need a second chance? There’s a seat at my dinner table for you. Name the day.
But if you hold on to your fiction that you don’t have a drinking problem and you are blameless in every dreadful thing that happened while you are drinking, I must cast you out. You have to go. You have to live in the wilderness until the sun shines on you and you finally see the light. Yes, Mr. Kavanaugh, that’s what has to happen. It’s what tough love is all about.