BY HANNAH HOOPER – STAFF WRITER
“It doesn’t matter. We won.”
This is what our president had to say when CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl recently prompted him to comment on the veracity of Dr. Ford’s statement.
These words tell us that to our president, partisan politics matters more than human dignity. These words turn what should be an uncomplicated conversation of basic ethics into a politicized battleground. These words turn Republican subtext into text, telling us outright, regardless of the truth, Dr. Ford’s story doesn’t matter to our president. Her experience, her courage, her pain—none of it matters.
These words tell us what we have known all along—to Trump, the truth doesn’t matter. Just “winning.”
Okay, let’s indulge Trump for a moment and use language he’ll understand. If this is indeed a “battleground,” then it’s the creeps and the rapists versus the rest of us—the victims, the believers, the supporters, the families and friends. Is that a “win” you really want to tout, Mr. President?
I’m almost tempted to say that Trump’s flippancy isn’t worth our chagrin. I’m almost tempted to say “Ah, but we already knew he has the mindset and composure of a bratty five-year-old. This isn’t new.” But then I think of Dr. Ford.
I think of her bravery—coming forward despite the peril she knew it placed her in, despite the legacy of doubt and contempt towards survivors she knew she was up against. I think of her selflessness—willingly parsing through every last detail of her deepest personal trauma with a panel of powerful people, most of whom were men, many of whom were skeptical, and then having that broadcast to the world—certainly not because she wanted to, but because she felt it was the right thing to do. Dr. Ford had nothing to gain and everything to lose, and yet she chose to stare her trauma in the face and (rather than lashing out like her attacker) to tell her story with candor and poise.
When I think of all of this, I’m filled with gratitude for Dr. Ford, and I’m compelled to stay angry and stay active for her. It is precisely because our commander in chief and his henchmen were so characteristically dismissive of a woman’s trauma that we have to double down. We have to listen to survivors and elevate their voices. We have to keep calling our senators and letting them know what we want. We have to vote. And we have to not let the dismissiveness and amorality of our leaders dishearten us, but to instead let Dr. Ford’s bravery and selflessness empower us.
Because when we let power and party politics supersede truth and fairness, nobody wins.