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A Republican Is Born

Brett Kavanaugh, in Thursday's hearing (CBC screenshot)

A reader writes:

I’m a middle-aged (45) white male, married with 3 young children. For my entire adult life, I’ve known – and I would guess that most of the men in my demographic cohort would, too – what the score is culturally-speaking. The endless parade of victims that have come across our screens and pages over the last 30+ years have all had one essential truth in common: I am the enemy.

This is nothing new. You’ve spilled a lot of ink writing about this before – including how the Trump phenomenon seemed, perhaps, to play off this fact – see Douthat’s “ressentiment” theory. Perhaps that’s true, but to me – who didn’t vote for Trump and sat out the 2016 election – seeing so much clownish buffoonery on both the left (SJWs, “love wins” etc) and right (birthers, borders, bigots), I have been a man without a party for the last 10-12 years.

Until yesterday.

I watched most of Dr. Ford’s testimony and found her to be sympathetic. She was painful to watch – she obviously was hurt back then, and she did her best to make it clear what she could remember. When she finished, it seemed that this Kavanaugh thing was pretty much over – again, we all know the score.

But then, Brett Kavanaugh did something completely unexpected, to me. His opening statement before the Senate yesterday is the most powerful moment I’ve seen in politics in my lifetime. This is the first time I’ve seen anyone on the national stage defend themselves with justified righteous anger and – this is important – not have it tied to ethnic/group grievance or clownish political buffoonery.

He was, most of all, normal. I assume that he has a sharp legal mind and that, like all of us, he knew what the score was. But rather than dress his statement up with the usual measured tones and passive language – playing it politically safe, he put all of his pent-up frustration, anger, and sadness on full display. He basically laid his entire life and career out on the table and said “Go ahead, make my day.”

The way he spoke – he could have been me or any one of my friends up there!

This is an exceedingly ugly time in our national politics, and I don’t know how long things can continue this way. I fear for the world that my children will inherit from us.

But I will remember this moment for a long, long time.

A man — one like me — played to win! And not just to win a seat on the court, but something much more important — he played to win his honor and that of his family and friends.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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