Sympathy — well, not much — for the privileged white man: he’s mourning his lost privilege. Like many, I was astonished at the way Senators Lindsay Graham and John Cornyn behaved on Thursday. At the Texas Tribune Festival this past weekend, a former aide to Cornyn said he’d never seen either of those men so angry. “They believe they’re under attack.”
Under attack? Sounds awfully dramatic. Then the penny dropped: it’s getting really hard to be in Denial about the passing of white male privilege; they’re moving on to the second stage of grief, Anger. Not to say Denial isn’t still possible; this week saw Bill Cosby sent to prison, but at least he’s not white; and it was OK to attack Bill Clinton, he’s white trash, not “one of us.”
By his lights, Brett Kavanaugh is unjustly accused, even if he did assault Prof. Ford (and she persuaded even Fox News). It’s quite possible he doesn’t remember, it just wasn’t that important to him. For affluent, athletic, straight white males, when Kavanaugh was growing up, the rule was: you have to respect the daughters of your daddy’s friends — one of whom you’ll be expected to marry when your wild younger days are done — but you can do what you want with anyone not of your class. Without consequences.
The culture has repealed that rule retroactively, and thus threatens to deny Kavanaugh the job to which he’s “entitled.” No wonder he’s angry. It’s not fair!
It may be hard to share his grief at the loss of privilege, but it’s important to recognize it. The top of the power structure is angry, and they can do a lot of damage before they move on to Bargaining.