Last year, Christine Blasey Ford showed the country how survivors of sexual harassment and assault continue to be treated, even when they are believed to be telling the truth.
She and her family were driven from their home after she alleged that then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her when they were teenagers. She testified before the Senate Judiciary committee and the nation, revealing the cowardice and malice of members of Congress who either didn’t believe her, or took advantage of their time to grandstand on C-SPAN. She recounted the trauma of her assault out of a civic duty to stop a man who she said attacked her from being confirmed to one of highest positions of power in the country.
For that, Blasey Ford is indeed one of the most influential people of this past year, and her bravery and morality will remain one of the most memorable events of the decade. So, it would it makes sense that Time named her one of its 100 most influential people of 2019. And by the same token, it is an absolute disgrace that the publication decided to put her alleged attacker alongside her.
The irony is even more palpable in the summaries written for both Ford and the man she said assaulted her. Blasey Ford’s piece is written by California Sen. and Democratic presidential nominee Kamala Harris, commending her for coming forward and sharing her story.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote a glowing recommendation of Kavanaugh, ever sure to emphasize just how qualified Kavanaugh was for the position, how (not) composed he kept himself during his testimony to the Senate regarding Blasey Ford’s account, and sharing his excitement for “many years of brilliant, distinguished public service” from the justice. From McConnell’s Time piece, emphasis mine:
When Brett Kavanaugh was named the President’s choice to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy, he was one of the most qualified Supreme Court nominees in modern history...
But when unhinged partisanship and special interests sought to distract the Senate from considering those qualifications, we saw other facets of Justice Kavanaugh’s character shine forth as well. The country saw his resilience and commitment to public service. We saw his loyal devotion to family and friends. We saw his undeterred reverence for the law, for precedents and for our nation’s highest traditions.
It is all these qualities combined that make Justice Kavanaugh exactly the kind of jurist whom the American people deserve on our Supreme Court. I look forward to many years of brilliant, distinguished public service.
McConnell’s version of the truth, of course, bears no resemblance to reality. Kavanaugh angry-cried about how much he loved to work out with his boys and drink beer as a teenager on national television, and then screamed at Democratic senators during that second hearing. He was confirmed anyway on a mostly party-line vote.
Kavanaugh is influential, without a doubt. He emboldened bad actors, and sent the message to survivors that no matter how credible you are, your story about assault or rape might not be believed, regardless of how high the stakes are. His confirmation also handed conservatives a 5–4 Supreme Court majority for the foreseeable future. But that doesn’t make him worthy of being put on a list alongside Blasey Ford, the woman he allegedly tried to assault and a portrait of resilience and symbol of hope for survivors.
Time’s list is, quite honestly, a lot of bullshit—a profile on McConnell written by John Boehner, a profile on Trump written by Chris Christie? But considering placing Kavanaugh among the ranks of Blasey Ford, even involving her in a project in which her alleged attacker is also celebrated with baseless revisionist history, is the disgusting cherry on top.