Editorial - Triumph of Principles over Passions in Supreme Court Confirmation

by Placerville Newswire / Oct 10, 2018 / comments

[Cris Alarcon]

The foresight of our nation’s founding fathers is remarkable and clearly evident in the recent confirmation of Supreme Court member Kavanagh.  Many have seen the uproar and to many it seems a political move as much as care about victims of sexual assaults.  I make no apologies for the confirmation and I am also known to be public about my own experience of being sexually assaulted by a male member of my family when I was young.  I have published a story about that and how it continues to affect my life even 45 years later.  I have been open in my support of the “me too” concept but not as a political movement but rather as an effective way to encourage, support victims, and to shine a light on this serious scourge of life.  I have not shied away from the most taboo topics of male-on-male sexual assaults or child sexual assaults.  But I do not let my passion turn into a political issue.

I have personally experienced the morally corrupting effect of letting my passion overwhelm my principles in politics and regret it all the time.  I understand the pull, but it always leads to morally bankrupt decisions that are more self-serving than anything I can be proud of. Since I was in the hospital with major surgery the idea of how I act and how I will face a final accounting of how well I applied my principles over my passions was forefront in my mind as I checked my cell phone and saw wide actions that I would never be able to justify.

Long ago I understood that Principle embedded in our form of government to give people the right to be seen as innocent until duly proven guilty as a balance against a tyrannical government that we had left behind in Europe.  Most commonly known as “innocent until proven guilty.”  But as I watched the political movement to swing the Highest court to a Left-leaning political body rather than Right-leaning for what was clearly political reasons.

The cry being that victims should be believed.  Yes they should, but there is no justification to support that alleged victims should be believed more so than accused victimizers just as a matter of process.  If there is any reasonable justification of truth to the victims claims there should be a level of belief to trigger an initial inquiry that might lead to a further investigation if there is evidence to support the claims of misconduct.  We all understand the difficulties that can arise in a He-said-she-said scenario, but to assume one is lying without any supporting evidence is grossly unfair and a disservice to the many other victims that will be painted as unreliable due to the issue being turned into a political issue rather that a mental health or criminal issue.  Such actions are no different than the lesson we learned as “the boy that cried wolf” and how it devalues the needed help needed when the wolf is in the herd.

My heart breaks because what I saw was the victims of all sexual assaults being the victims of a political movement and they will be suffering for years as the credibility of their claims will now be seen in light of these very public, but unlikely claims made for ulterior purposes, that will inevitably cast a level of doubt on the true victims that deserve a fair hearing of their claims.

Not only do I see this from the perspective of a victim myself, I also see it from the point of an endangered person more likely to be falsely accused for malicious purposes solely because of my gender.  I have known this since business school and it has been reinforced many times growing up in California.   About 30 years ago, while drinking plenty in college, I was taught that I had to take precautions in the newly litigious environment where executive males were being assumed to be guilty in a he-said-she-said accused of improper sexual behavior.  I learned to never close the door in a private meeting with a sole female college and to open the blinds.  Better yet was to have a 3rd party witness.  Not because I would have done anything improber that way, but that I would need to be proactive in my own defense against false claims.  All because I was a member of the predominantly offending gender.  So I took those precautions and always behaved as I was (still am) somewhat repressed that way due to my own younger experiences of being a victim myself.

Fair? I don’t know and don’t even care that much because I do believe that the vast majority of offenders are males, especially those in positions of higher power.  But I do strongly believe that all persons are due the right of the assumption of innocence until proven otherwise, regardless of gender.  Anything less is nothing short of sexism.  Sexisim for political gamesmanship at the cost of real victims is a simply morally bankrupt course of action and is indefensible in every case.

In the end I am proud of the tenants of Principles heeling in unbridled passions in the conformation of the newest Supreme Court Justice.  I am also saddened for those that are victims caught up in a political game without any care of how it will harm personally.  Regardless of your position of a more Conservative or Liberal court your actions should be guided by actions that help those that need it, not by politics. 

I am satisfied with the outcome of the process regardless of the spectacle that came with it.  I know good and bad Republicans just like I know good and bad Democrats.  Those political tags really just refer to a favored form of government and often have nothing to do with the compassion in that person’s heart.  To intentionally obfuscated that fact for political gamesmanship is something we should all try to avoid and to avoid those that would choose such a path.  

“Power tends to corrupt,” said Lord Acton, the 19th-century British historian. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  All people deserve compassion when facing the corrupting powers of the political process, not just males or females, not just accusers or accused.  A fair hearing of the validity of the circumstances is the first step to a kind and compassionate society.

Let us move forward with compassion recognizing the past spectacle for what it was, a political game with no concern for the real victims of sexual assaults.  Regardless of our skin color, our gender, or even the political party we self-affiliate with, we are up to this if we put compassion and fairness first.

Cris Alarcon, 10/10/2018