TORONTO - It is not much of an exaggeration to say the Western World is gripped by the drama of the Brett Kavanaugh Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.
Sex and violence sell.
Whether Judge Kavanaugh will be confirmed as a Supreme Justice will depend, to some extent, on the credibility of his own self-definition as a sexually moral individual who resisted the temptations of an environment where wanton excess and ribaldry were the order of the day.
He may well have been a character taken out of the “Father Knows Best” genre of the American sitcoms TV series of the 1950s and early Sixties. Before his time. Some have already surfaced to suggest strongly that he had no personal adherence to societal values extolled in those sitcoms. It cannot be that “he simply saw but did not participate”, they say. They do not contest that he was also a dedicated student and athlete.
Those qualities got him to where he is – an accomplished jurist. They do say that he was prone to excess in drinking and in activities that were openly disrespectful or abusive of the other gender.
He lied, they say. Does it matter? Even if they are right, Kavanaugh is a different man today, or so goes the argument. But, victims and survivors live with such degrading assaults forever.
A long-time, lady, family friend, confiding that she had been subjected to, and escaped, a similar incident of undignified, unwanted, “attention” in her teens, admitted that maybe “people move on”, but “it’s not right”. Even if Kavanaugh was in his teens when the allegations of his abusive conduct manifested. It's not even a question of forgiveness, she said.
In his new position, he will be setting “the tone” for what is acceptable. He is not just the sum of the books he has read, but the “character” he has been since reaching the age of reason, that is, when he could tell right from wrong.
In Canada, coincidently, on the day the US Senate Judiciary Committee agreed to move the Kavanaugh hearings to the next level only on condition that the FBI conduct a supplemental investigation prior to the Congressional vote, a Federal Court found that Helmut Oberlander had lied on his citizenship application … in 1960.
Jewish Advocacy groups and the Holocaust survivors they represent were overjoyed.
They have maintained for decades that Oberlander, a Ukrainian by birth, was a member of a Nazi SS group responsible for the execution of thousands of civilians, the majority Jewish, during War II. Oberlander, now 94 years old, has always claimed that he was only 16 at the time.
His involvement was as an interpreter, conscripted under pain of death, to provide translation services. Moreover, he claimed not to have participated in, or to know of, the mass killings.
No one has ever proven otherwise. Since his immigration to Canada in 1954, he has been what some will say a model citizen. A successful entrepreneur, he has provided employment for thousands of people in the Kitchener area and helped that community grow. He had made every effort to “move on”. No matter, said Justice Michael Phelan, he lied on his application for Residency and for Citizenship when he failed to disclose that he had had ties with Nazis.
He will have his citizenship revoked.