'Beware Men' is disturbing message of Kavanaugh debacle

'Beware Men' is disturbing message of Kavanaugh debacle
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As we consider Thursday’s dramatic Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, we must consider the forces that shaped the deliberations. What came out of the Kavanaugh hearings is the manifestation of three dynamic trends — the #MeToo movement, #FakeNews, and hyper-partisanship — into a new paradigm: Beware Men.

From Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, to CBS executive Les Moonves, to Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreGOP strategist: Alabama Republicans need to 'gather around' candidate who 'is not Roy Moore' The Hill's Morning Report — Combative Trump aims at Pelosi before Russia report Poll: Roy Moore leading Alabama GOP field MORE, the #MeToo movement has made an impact in our movie studios, in our corporate boardrooms and in our ballot boxes. Women are galvanized and are saying, loudly and clearly, that they will no longer be victims of sexual harassment and abuse.

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So, say goodbye to the “good old days” and to the “good old boys.” The days when prep schools, fraternities, locker rooms and “small gatherings” were safe havens for men behaving badly, or simply boorishly, are no longer tolerated. The preponderance of bad-boy behavior unchecked is gone with the wind. Today, the presumption of innocence has been replaced with the presumption of “I Believe.”

Then there is the rise of fake news. Inherent in the search for truth in the Kavanaugh hearings and in other similar situations are the known unknowns. So frequently these interactions are secret, private and involve only two people. They are also traumatic and underreported, or even often suppressed. The rise of fake news and the lack of an agreed-to institutional set of truths has left voters seeking for their own truth — their own set of facts. They can find affirmation for their own points of view simply by switching the cable station.

Like tens of millions of Americans, I was transfixed by Thursday’s judiciary committee hearing. I found Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s opening testimony to be both moving and credible. Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony also was moving and credible. But the inability and the lack of commitment by senators of both parties on the committee to find the truth about Ford’s allegation against Kavanaugh was disconcerting.

Finally, the one indelible truth in this entire process is that our political hyper-partisanship has become a national disgrace. It has been a disservice to Kavanaugh, to Ford, and to the American people. Democrats, desperate to forestall Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment from the beginning, have been committed to sinking his candidacy until after the midterm elections, hoping for a victory at the ballot box. Republicans, for their part, stoked this partisan fire when they steadfastly refused even to consider an earlier Supreme Court nominee, Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandMcConnell touts Trump support, Supreme Court fights in reelection video Hatch warns 'dangerous' idea of court packing could hurt religious liberty Juan Williams: McConnell's hypocrisy on the courts MORE, during the final months of President Obama’s second term.

Judge Kavanaugh deserves due process, as do his accusers. By not conducting any additional investigation, the committee’s senators are not being fair to either Judge Kavanaugh, to Christine Blasey Ford, to his other accusers or to the American people. This may not end well if or when it goes forward. Sadly, a cloud likely will forever hang above Judge Kavanaugh, Christine Blasey Ford and this hearing.

The paralysis of unrelenting partisan gridlock will live on and grip our nation, and a new paradigm will have been forged: Beware Men.

Earle Mack served as U.S. ambassador to Finland from 2004 to 2005. He was named chairman emeritus of the New York State Council of the Arts after serving as its chairman and chief executive officer from 1996 to 1999.