The world loves a cartoon baddie, and in Donald Trump we’ve got a villain straight out of “Scooby Doo.” But in either two or six years, we will say goodbye to a man who has gifted more to political satire than George W Bush, and that will be that. But it won’t, because in Trump favorite Brett Kavanaugh, we will be burdened with a social conservative with the tools to be a key influencer in matters of the highest legal importance for the rest of his natural life.
What does this mean in reality? For women, it means a dark road to inequality. Kavanaugh dissented from the decision to uphold the requirements of the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act, while his decidedly neutral and cagey response to a question on Roe vs. Wade as “an important precedent” did little to reassure society that this devout Catholic (who claims his religion does not influence his politics) will continue to support the ruling. “The government,” explains the supreme court justice, “has permissible interests in favoring fetal life … and refraining from facilitating abortion.” And that’s not even considering his comment while a DC circuit court judge that people who “lack the mental capacity” do not have the right to make decisions on personal medical issues.
How about the health of the planet? Kavanaugh isn’t so much anti-environment, but intractably bureaucratic. In his own words, “Congressional inaction does not license [the EPA] to take matters into its own hands, even to solve a pressing policy issue such as climate change.” Namely, if the hardline, climate change denying congress continues to pooh-pooh the Paris Agreement, IPC and the countless other accords and foundations indicating the need for serious action, Kavanaugh will not stand in their way. As the old adage goes, inaction is the same as culpability, and Kavanaugh is the caricature epitome of the concept. Less “Scooby Doo” bad guy, more Goebbels poster boy.
And while we are on the theme of cartoons, when did “South Park” stop being controversial? As the first episode of Season 22 hammers home the normalization of school shootings in a fashion so blunt — even by the standards of this razor blade of social commentary — it is obvious that the once provocative and unflappable Trey Parker and Matt Stone have also conceded defeat. The cry to cancel “South Park” may be a marketing ploy – and a good one at that – but it also makes the point abundantly clear; if what was once the most contentious political satire in the country is no longer causing waves, what does that say about the numbing of society to the most destructive actions of mankind? In short, what sort of culture permits the idolization of guns to supersede the right of a child to life and education?
The very same one that teaches us that rape is not so much a trauma, but a psychological barrier to the desires of powerful men that can be overcome by force or voted away by the senate, and then normalized by the pussy-grabbing comments of leaders and those appointed to the supreme court. Which, in turn, teaches the next generation, and the six generations that follow, that boys will be boys, and their actions will never be held accountable if they become wealthy and powerful. Because Donald Trump may be an angry, delusional old goat who thinks that crass, sexual predation in words and actions are acceptable and the way things are, but his hateful words and beliefs are not long for this world. Brett Kavanaugh, however, is a 53-year-old wealthy man with the ability to buy his way through life, and if he lives for another 30 years, society will not only have three decades of Trump’s hatred to endure, but current and future victims of rape will spend their lives believing that the law is against them, and no matter how loud they try, nobody will hear them scream.