Sometimes, there is no right way to handle a situation.
That's how I feel about the sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh as a vote to confirm him as a member of the Supreme Court was postponed.
Do I believe that he possibly committed the acts that a woman he knew in high school alleges? I have no reason not to. Teenagers at parties do some pretty dumb things. Some of those dumb things are criminal things.
It was true when I was in high school and it is true now.
One night when I was a sophomore, my phone rang at about 11 p.m. I rolled over in my waterbed, answered my Garfield the Cat landline and heard a female friend crying on the other end. She was at a local restaurant asking me to come take her home. One of my friends who was a senior had taken her on a date. He was groping her and she asked him to stop. He told her if he had to stop, she had to walk home.
She got out of the car and called me.
She didn't call the police. She didn't tell authorities at school. She called me.
They both moved on and are now successful professionals - strangely enough, they are in the same profession.
My friend and I got into a fight the next day in the locker room after I called him out for his actions. That was the end of it. I doubt she would say a word if he ran for Governor today.
I don't think that story was uncommon. That's unfortunate but true. Until the "me too" movement happened, women were far less empowered to take on the men in their lives who took advantage of them.
That has changed a lot now. But it's been 35 years since Kavanaugh allegedly took actions that land somewhere between inappropriate and felonious.
I can't think of a way to handle this that is fair to both parties. After three decades, it is a "he said, she said" scenario. I can't imagine that any evidence still exists to prove either side owns the truth.
You can't dismiss her claims. Sexual assault or attempted rape can't be ignored just because the event isn't recent. She did talk about it with a counselor more than five years ago. Why would she do that? Kavanaugh wasn't a candidate then.
In the same logical progression, Kavanaugh was never charged or even accused of any impropriety until now. He graduated, went to college, made it through law school, became a judge, was appointed as a federal judge and now he is accused just days before a confirmation vote of committing a heinous act.
Political pundit Erick Erickson - whose parents will never win awards for creatively naming children - has been leading the way to discredit the woman on Twitter and elsewhere.
"If the GOP does not stand up to this character assassination attempt on Kavanaugh, every judicial nominee moving forward is going to suffer last minute sexual assault allegations," he said. "How convenient -- the anonymous accuser who only wanted to remain anonymous has already passed a polygraph to show she's telling the truth about the thing she didn't want to tell anyone about."
I get what Erickson is ineffectively trying to say. The timing of the revelations is suspicious. I don't understand how claiming to be a sexual assault victim is ever "convenient." It isn't like every little girl dreams of one day getting to derail a Supreme Court nominee with false allegations.
It is equally odd that people supporting Kavanaugh's nomination were able to produce a letter signed by 65 high school classmates that he was never known to have done anything like this.
Really? If you asked 65 of my classmates to sign a letter, a handful would claim I hunted sasquatch on my pet unicorn just because they thought it was hilarious.The letter to defend him might be second only to the woman's direct claims that made me think he might really be guilty. Someone at least knew it might come up and took action.
They have also produced letters from two women who claim they dated Kanvanaugh and they vouch for his good character.
I don't know that my ex-girlfriends would defend me like that, but I also don't think that "he doesn't try to rape everyone" is a great defense either.
That's why this case is so difficult.
Can a charge that is impossible to prove really disqualify a man this late in the process from becoming a Supreme Court Justice? He can't prove his innocence any more than she can prove his guilt. Barring DNA or video evidence, what could exist to make this black and white?
In one sense, we risk giving a man a lifetime appointment who might have committed a horrible act. On the other hand, we might derail an innocent man from that office over unprovable allegations.
I know one thing, I won't diminish this woman or her claims. Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a fake letter written in crayon to mock the woman for making the claim. It didn't happen in grade school. She was 17.
I bet if I asked all of the girls at a softball game I'm covering this afternoon if something similar had ever happened to them, more than one would raise their hands. This behavior is not rare - it wasn't when Kavanaugh was in school and it isn't now. Erickson is also off the rails in his hope that Kavanaugh is innocent and his overly strenuous defense of the nominee.
Kellyanne Conway got as close to a correctly measured tone as you can in this difficult situation. She pointed out that Kavanaugh has been investigated by the FBI six different times in his career and was never disqualified, however she added, "This woman should not be ignored and should not be insulted. She should be heard."
If anything, I hope this woman is sincere and honest and her act of coming forward will help today's teenage girls realize that you don't have to suffer in silence for 35 years before you say something.
I don't think this allegation will, in fact, keep Kavanaugh from being confirmed. Hopefully, it makes young men consider ramifications of their actions - even decades later - and fewer victims like these are created at parties in the future.