In the last couple weeks, millions of American women (and men) were triggered by the heartbreaking and contentious confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh after Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee identifying Judge Kavanaugh as the perpetrator of a sexual assault when she was 15.
Regardless of which side of the political aisle you subscribe to, it was brutal. Only someone lucky enough to be living in a remote cave on a deserted island doesn't know what occurred so there is little need for elaboration. In short, there was one day of testimony in which no witnesses or in depth investigation allowed, the vote was rushed through and Judge Brett Kavanaugh is now a United States Supreme Court Judge.
Meanwhile back in Tennessee, several days before the vote, Democratic Candidate for Senate, Phil Bredesen, announced he would have supported Kavanaugh's confirmation. While many progressives weren't surprised, others were shocked and puzzled why he would not choose to acknowledge Dr. Ford and all the women across the country who were watching this pivotal vote, a vote that put a man on the Supreme Court- for a lifetime--who indeed very well may have committed a sexual crime. Women throughout the state were crushed that Bredesen didn't at least say: "I don't know or I need more more information." Anything but full on, 'yes.'
Compounding the outrage, Bredesen's wife Andrea Conte is the face most Tennesseans think of when we hear "victim's advocate." Andrea Conte has done more for women and families who are victim's of violence than can be articulated in this essay. She is the poster woman of championing the voices of those who are often silenced. Shortly after it was announced, there was a collective gasp as if the wheels on the support bus were becoming unhinged at high speed.
Along with those outraged by Bredesen's pledging support for Brett Kavanaugh, I felt ill at the news once his confirmation to the Supreme Court was announced. To soften the blow I decided to tune into Saturday Night Live for some laughs. While the opening segment was funny, the levity was short lived as I watched ad after slanderous campaign ad for Marsha Blackburn in between skits. It was horrifying. The ads were vile and while badly produced were grossly potent for the unthinking.
The woman who ignited the opiod crisis by co-sponsoring a law which weakened DEA enforcement efforts against drug distribution companies--who were supplying corrupt doctors and pharmacists who peddled narcotics to the black market--was on the attack. Pandering to all things Trump, including hateful anti-immigration policies and promoting building "the wall" to keep out Mexican people, this is Marsha Blackburn. Blackburn is 'Trump's girl' and if Tennesseans want Trump on estrogen, Marsha is definitely the girl.
A dear friend of mine recently told me she refused to vote from a place 'of fear’ as justification for not voting for Bredesen. And like several I've heard, considering voting for no one. And I understand. One should feel empowered and inspired by their decision.
For those who want to feel radical, burn the house down and make a point about having a candidate that stands up for women and minorities and cares about the poor, yes I get it. I so understand. For those who are armored up and ready for Marsha Blackburn and the darkness that surrounds and supports her, go for it. But I question whether or not anyone is ready for the level of deviance, division and subterfuge that Ms. Blackburn has shown she is capable of.
This Senate race is a challenging decision for everyone. I have just never had success voting 'against' something and know the frustration of feeling as though you must vote for the 'least worst'. Everyone must vote for who and what makes them feel good, empowered and hopeful.
And while my friend is wary of Blackburn, she's so disillusioned with Bredesen pledging his support for Kavenaugh, she will no longer support Bredesen. And she's not alone.
To that I say, absolutely don’t make a decision out of fear. But what about making a decision based on possibility? For me that is my only choice. I am holding my breath and voting for Phil Bredesen because he’s the best we have until some younger, more committed progressive values, imaginative, and a little less encumbered and politically entrenched politician (hopefully a woman) comes along.
Beyond ‘fear’ for me, I am leaning towards Bredesen because of some of his fellow members. He will be surrounded by--and possibly influenced by--the likes of Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Dick Durbin, Amy Klobuchar, Sheldon Whitehouse and many others.
The company he will keep is the bright light of his winning. Hopefully every day, he will be challenged by his fellow Senators--including some strong women-- who are truly Democrats, and true progressives. Will he listen to them? We can only hope.
I've been wrong a lot, so what do I know? Not more than you. Vote 'for' what feel's right and for the person you are prepared to live with.
Thank you for reading.