No matter where you sit on the political spectrum, it is clearly evident that Judge Brett Kavanaugh lacks the judiciousness to be given the privilege of serving on our highest court. Whether he is lying or not about the allegations that multiple women and men have made about his conduct is not the fundamental issue that has me worried. (Although those allegations would warrant further investigation in any job interview.) It is the manner in which Kavanaugh and every Republican committee member abandoned their attempt to give the hearings a patina of dignity and ultimately relied on the time-tested ploy of sidestepping the real questions and blaming the process.

Having to pry any truth out of Judge Kavanaugh, even things to which he has admitted, is not indicative of someone who values the dignity of telling the truth. That was left up to a terrified woman who was doing her civic duty in reporting an event that has colored her entire adult life. Like Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, I now feel terrified as well.

My parents were political refugees who fled Europe separately and met in New York in 1939. I admire my father, Ernst Morganroth, who had to assume a new name, Stephan Lackner, to continue to write anti-Hitler articles while still living in Europe. But I am in awe of my mother, who as a young adult, said goodbye to her Nazi father and brother and left Austria alone on a Quaker sponsorship. She would have been accepted in the new status quo, but she loathed what was happening to her country.

Both of my parents saw firsthand a government that had sidestepped the norms that form a tenuous bond that protects citizens. In witnessing this, two things horrified them: the speed with which truth and decency can be bullied and molded into an alternate rationale, and the ease with which an entire population of decent people can accept and make normal the unthinkable.

My parents would be over 100 years old if they were still alive. They loved the United States, but the trauma of watching their worlds turn upside-down stayed with them and shaped the rest of their lives, much as the trauma of Dr. Ford’s attack with stay with her. We as a people need to take heed of what is happening to the United States now. We need to express ourselves, even in conversation if not demonstration. And we need to vote as the ultimate means of expression which our democracy grants us.


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