October 1, 2018

LIEBERMAN | There Is No End All, Be All

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When I open my laptop, to start writing about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, it feels equal parts tired and tiring. Tired, because I’ve done this before — written this before — and so have so many others: survivors, supporters, some worn down combination of the two; we have done this before. This opinion piece is tired. And yet, somehow, despite having practiced and done all the necessary (more than the necessary) pre-writing, it feels beyond exhausting to do it, maybe because I can be sure I will have to do it again.

I am so sick of writing about being believed. I am so sick of writing about being broken. I am so sick of writing about who runs this country and who gets run over. I am so sick of this empty sense of begging — believe me! Believe us! I beseech you.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford reminds me so much of my mother. They are almost the same age. They are both professors. They have both pushed back against the endless process of being silenced that is, despite how much we try, still a part of becoming a woman. She reminds me of my mother, and it hurts so badly to see her that way. It’s like watching my own beating heart on a table, while hearing the people passing by tell it that it knows nothing of being alive.

I heard discussion this past week about how, in a way, Dr. Ford is, through an intersectional lens, privileged by her whiteness and her education, so that when poised in this wretched situation — this sink or swim situation — she had the highest likelihood (the most hope of) staying afloat. If even she can’t, as a survivor, share her testimony, what does that mean for everyone else? What does it mean for women of color, or nonbinary people, or people living in poverty? If Dr. Ford isn’t believed, I despair at what is happening, has happened, and will continue to happen to survivors in our racist, ableist and often bigoted society.

An easy solution would maybe be for me to take a break — to stop speaking about his thing that makes me tired. But I can’t, and I won’t, and I have so much evidence this week to support why. Survivors crowded into an elevator with Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), after he revealed his plan to vote “yes.” They gave their testimonies. They beseached him. And in a rare breath of humanity, he relented. He called for an FBI investigation of the allegations of sexual assault.

I am so angry that survivors are shouldered with the burden of getting someone to simply believe them. I am so sad that we are often our only authentic advocates — carrying this testimony becomes the task of a lifetime. Yet, I thank these survivors for restoring in me, and in so many others, faith in the value of our voices, of our truths, of humanity and vulnerability, of fortitude.

And, so, I’ll write this column again; I’ll write it until my hands have nothing left to them. And we’ll keep going until they believe us.
Sarah Lieberman is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. Blueberries for Sal runs every other Tuesday this semester. She can be reached at slieberman@cornellsun.com.