EDITOR'S NOTE: MORE THAN A YEAR AGO, WE RAN A HIGHLY-READ, CONTROVERSIAL SERIES ON THE STATE BOARD OF HEALTH'S FALSE ACCUSATIONS AGAINST NATHAN CLARK (A PSEUDONYM) AND SUBSEQUENT BAN BY A LOWER COURT JUSTICE FROM HIM SEEING HIS YOUNG CHILD FOR 18 MONTHS UNTIL THE STATE SUPREME COURT RULED IN HIS FAVOR. NOW NATHAN CLARK--WHO IS NOT A TRUMP OR CLINTON BACKER--SPEAKS OUT POWERFULLY AND EMPATHETICALLY ABOUT THE KAVANAUGH UNJUST CHARADE.
I can relate to Kavanaugh's pain.
You see, a few years ago, I found myself falsely accused of a heinous sexual crime against my own child. As has been the case with Kavanaugh, I found myself being interrogated by very hostile people. “Guilty until proven innocent” was very much the mindset of the court in which I was forced to sit.
My wife and I were forced to appeal our case to the state Supreme Court. For 18 agonizing months, while waiting for justice from the Supreme Court, I was, as a result of this false accusation and the injustice of the lower court, forced to live apart from my wife and two children.
It was hell, and it is only thanks to the grace of God that I didn’t commit suicide.
Now, today, before weighing in on the contentious topic of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, let me that I did not vote for Donald Trump. If it matters, I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton either. I voted for a 3rd party candidate.
Let me also say that when I first heard about Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, I wasn’t thrilled. I’m not convinced he was the best choice. All that said, I have watched with great interest what has transpired in the last few days.
It has been painful to watch, and at times infuriating.
Assuming that Kavanaugh is innocent for the moment (and the Constitution compels us to regard people as innocent until proven guilty), what he is experiencing is a tragedy of nightmarish proportions.
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The notion that anyone like me could ever be falsely accused originally seemed an utterly foreign concept to the court. I’d been accused, so that settled it. The opposing attorney referred to me as “the perpetrator," not even going through the motions of having enough courtesy to call me the “alleged perpetrator."
Thankfully, the state Supreme Court finally vindicated me. In the court’s ruling, the Supreme Court justice said the Supreme Court had no choice but to reverse the lower court’s decision because “no evidence” had been presented during the trial. The lower court judge had ruled against me, in the complete absence of any evidence, in what appeared to me a twisted effort to not appear “soft” on crime.
Of course, it’s wrong when courts wink at crimes. But it’s equally wrong when falsely accused people are condemned for acts they didn’t commit.
Thus far there is no corroborating evidence that actually implicates Kavanaugh. An accusation alone is not sufficient to conclude someone is guilty. For his opponents, though, this lack of evidence doesn’t appear to be a problem; they’re ready to condemn him anyway, just as the lack of evidence was irrelevant to the lower court in my case.
The malice in the voice of Kavanaugh’s questioners has sounded sickeningly familiar to me in recent days. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, in speaking to Christine Ford, referred to Kavanaugh as “the individual who assaulted you." Not “the individual who allegedly assaulted you."
No, many senators have already declared Kavanaugh guilty, despite the total absence of any corroborating evidence. Later, Booker said Ford had “shared her truth," whatever the hell that means.
Truth is truth. There’s no such thing as a “his truth” and “her truth," customized to fit whatever reality we choose to live in. It’s possible that Christine Ford is speaking truthfully. It’s also possible—and clearly Booker is willfully ignorant of this possibility—that, instead of sharing “her truth," she is lying.
Such loose language—“his truth” and “her truth”—is an example of relativism run amuck, the idea that truth is subjective, rather than objective. The relativist mindset causes people to ask not, “What is really true or false?” but “What is expedient?” In the gospel of Matthew when Jesus asked the Pharisees if John the Baptist had been a true prophet of God, they huddled to discuss. Absent from their discussion was any weighing of the evidence for or against John—they simply discussed how the crowds would respond to various hypothetical answers. You see, they were relativists. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to live in the real world and consistently live out that worldview.
There is such a thing as reality, such a thing as truth. I doubt anyone’s ever successfully evaded being convicted of perjury by saying, “Well, I told my truth, even though it may not be the same as your truth.”
It matters more than presidential elections, senate elections and Supreme Court nominations. Truth is that which actually conforms to reality, and falsehood is that which actually doesn’t conform.
When people treat truth like it is something malleable, something that can be shaped and re-shaped to suit someone’s own political aims, we are in trouble as a society. Allegations are either true or false; there is no subjective, nebulous third category.
This disturbing “guilty until proven innocent” trend is not something that began with this Supreme Court confirmation process this month. Because of the fervor to protect this country from another terrorist attack, when people are suspected of terrorism, they are often treated as guilty until proven innocent.
Because of the fervor to protect children from abuse, when parents are accused of child abuse, they are often treated as guilty until proven innocent. Because of law enforcement’s fervor to win the “war on drugs," when people are suspected of possessing or selling drugs, they are often treated as guilty until proven innocent. Because of the fervor to prevent women from being victims of sexual assault, when men are accused of sexually mistreating women, they are all too often “guilty until proven innocent." I’m sure other examples could also be cited.
I actually saw a hashtag online this week that said, “Believe Survivors." Such a categorical statement is so self evidently fallacious as to hardly need any refutation, as it denies the even theoretical possibility that false do accusations happen. Whatever the accused person has been accused of doing, “guilty until proven innocent” as a standard is always wrong, always unjust. This is for the very simple reason that it’s inherently not possible to prove a negative, to prove you didn’t do something.
As a matter of fairness, even Kavanaugh’s fiercest opponents should be disturbed by his being treating as “guilty until proven innocent." Those who believe he is guilty have the burden of proving that he is.
If anything good can come from what’s going on in the senate right now, hopefully the American people will start to wake up to how wrongheaded the “guilty until proven innocent” approach is. The normalization of “guilty until proven innocent.”
doesn’t usher in justice for victims. It makes America an unjust society.