The Washington Post today published an op-ed written by a mother whose daughters attend the same Catholic school as Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee: “I don’t know Kavanaugh the judge. But Kavanaugh the carpool dad is one great guy.” The article gushingly praises Kavanaugh in his non-official role as a girl’s basketball coach, car pool dad, and all around good guy.
The article rang my bell as a native Southerner. Here is my response.
Ms. O’Brien has pushed my button dead-on. As native Southerner, during the Civil Rights struggles I lived in a culture of flagrant Christian hypocrisy. The headlines blared with reports of the brutal murder of civil rights workers, frequent bombings of blacks’ homes and churches, police dogs and fire hoses used against peaceful demonstrators, adults spitting in the faces of black children desegregating a school, police brutally clubbing demonstrators on a bridge in Selma, and the assassination of Martin Luther King.
Underlying all this was the institution of segregation. “Good” Southerners would declare their commitment to “segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”—while declaring they had nothing to do with all that violence stuff.
And Christian churches during all this? They either declared that God and Jesus endorsed segregation, or they remained on the sidelines in blissful silence. You could lynch a black person on Saturday and be assured in church on Sunday that your immortal soul was headed for eternal salvation. It produced the “other than that” argument. “My friend Bubba is a rabid racist who believes we should ship the ‘N’ words back to Africa, but other than that, he’s a damn fine fellow. Why, he has always shown me the greatest kindness.”
In her accolade for Kavanaugh, O’Brien has delivered a pluperfect “other than that” argument. Sure, Kavanaugh wants to deny heath care to Americans with preexisting conditions, deny women the control of their bodies, always rules in favor of special interests, shows he’s a puppet of Big Business by having a powerful D.C. lobbyist as his “Sherpa” during the confirmation process, and he seems indifferent to the suffering of the kidnapped migrant children.
But other than that, Kavanaugh is a damn fine fellow who coaches my daughters’ basketball team and is a wonderful car pool dad.
Do you understand why I’m reaching for my barth bag?
A little elaboration: my comment on another commenter’s comment:
And don’t forget the “nice” Southern Baptists who championed slavery and segregation, the slaveowner who would help take care of a sick white neighbor while tying his slaves to a fence post and lashing them with a bullwhip, the ever so noble and full-of-integrity Southern Senators who used their power to maintain segregation for 100 years, and the “nice” car pool dads who would use billy clubs on a bridge in Selma to beat peaceful demonstrators nearly to their deaths.
Not to mention the “nice” car pool dad Nazis.
Judge Kavanaugh does, in fact, represent a particular class of human beings. And Ms. O’Brien, a particular class of their enablers.