How much do you need to know to hire someone?

The recent hearings in the Senate to confirm or decline the Judge Brett Kavanaugh nomination have shocked the nation.  But they haven’t shocked the nation enough.  I say that because getting a job is supposed to be about doing a job.  The filter for keeping out unqualified applicants is important.   Nowadays though, we’ve moved away from a simple evaluation of a person’s job abilities.  I keep hearing that a person’s online reputation and even their credit rating can influence employers.  I think that applying a new standard of being accusation-proof is a wrong one.  This new standard has come about because of social media.

I think that shocking the nation and creating chaos in the nomination process may have been the whole point of bringing forward accusations of inappropriate behavior that may or may not have happened 36 years ago.

In the Information Age, in a time when people are trying to know everything about everyone I think that knowing everything about everyone is a bad idea.  Scouring the shadows for a person who will gossip or make up a story without any evidence in order to undermine an accomplished career is a mistake.  Brett Kavanaugh is a person who has served in our nation’s courts for years.  He is capable and qualified for this Supreme Court position and I hope that his nomination goes forward to an approval.

As the “me too movement” has carried itself forward in a hysterical wave of hearsay, I would like to say that hearsay is not the way to understand happenings.  Evidence is.  Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony doesn’t rise to the level of evidence for many reasons including her inability to say for sure where or when events that she described happened.  She also isn’t a credible witness to her own story because she wasn’t sober.  Her story illustrates very well why young women and young men shouldn’t go to unsupervised parties with underage drinking.  But it also serves a political purpose.  She has delayed the Kavanaugh confirmation.

Blasey Ford claims that the only certainty she holds is the certainty that she was “mashed-up” by Kavanaugh.  Although this accusation has blocked Kavanaugh’s confirmation, it doesn’t rise to the level of a criminal accusation according to legal experts.  A more appropriate accusation may be against Blasey Ford as a slanderer.  Blasey Ford as a psychologist knows that her story isn’t about trauma.  The events that Blasey Ford describes fall short of “trauma” because her life wasn’t in danger.  Although she may have been afraid of being raped, there wasn’t a threat that endangered her life.  The only clear purpose of her story has been to muddy the waters of Kavanagh’s accomplished life with her accusation.

None of us should have to live under a microscope.  If we accept that we can be scrutinized for unfounded gossip, or for accusations without proofs or witnesses, how can we retain a footing in the sensible world of work and public life?  Gossip can invade life with wild and unsupported stories.  It can sour the private and public life of an accomplished and hard-working person.  Gossip shouldn’t affect a person’s job and a good boss doesn’t invite gossip into the workplace.  A better Senate wouldn’t invite an unsupportable accusation into public hearings for Kavanaugh.

Jobs are about doing.  Evidence is also about doing.  Evidence is about what, when, who, how, where, and sometimes why an event happened.  Events happen in three-dimensional space and require a grid of supportable facts.  Without basic three-dimensional facts, a person’s suffering must remain a private suffering.  How can it deserve to occupy public space if it doesn’t occupy physical space?

Evidence of wrongdoing sometimes loses its way in the prosecution of crimes against women.  Women who have experienced a violent act against their person suffer and some choose not to accuse their attacker.  The cost to society of violence against women is high.  The cost of violence to women is high for those who have experienced that violence.  That is a problem.  But relying on hearsay in lieu of evidence is bad.  How can our justice system function without relying on evidence?  Our justice system has sometimes failed to defend the right of women to be secure in their persons.  Substituting hearsay for evidence doesn’t repair that fault.  Even though this confirmation hearing isn’t a court proceeding I think it is more reasonable to keep to evidentiary standards than not to.

Nowadays, the word “tolerance” seems so far out of our lexicon.  A live and let live attitude seems far away right now.  Can’t we all try to avoid harming others?  Can’t we try to avoid condemning a person without evidence of wrongdoing?  It is just too easy to make up a story to undermine a person’s accomplishments in order to achieve a political goal.  We as a society shouldn’t accept unsupported accusations or allow such an accusation to undermine a judge’s accomplishments or his ability to do a job that needs doing.

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