I Ask My­self

Die Kon­tro­verse im Herbst über die No­minierung des Kan­di­daten für den Ober­sten Gericht­shof hat in vie­len Amerikan­ern unan­genehme Erin­nerun­gen geweckt.

Spotlight - - CONTENTS - AMY AR­GETSINGER is an ed­i­tor at The Wash­ing­ton Post, a lead­ing daily news­pa­per in the US.

Amy Ar­getsinger on con­tro­versy and the Supreme Court

About three years ago, the boys my age started run­ning for pres­i­dent. Not boys I know, of course. These were grown men with es­tab­lished po­lit­i­cal ca­reers who, when they ran for pres­i­dent, were writ­ten about in my news­pa­per — long bio­graph­i­cal sto­ries that fea­tured pho­tos from their teenage years. Their round faces and lush, cen­ter-part hair­cuts in these old pho­tos made these strangers star­tlingly fa­mil­iar. They wore the same striped rugby shirts that boys my age used to wear; they were pho­tographed in base­ments with the same kind of pan­el­ing that friends of mine had when I was grow­ing up. It proved that they are my age, and that we are now old enough to be pres­i­dent.

It’s a phase we all go through as we age. I re­mem­ber when Bill Clin­ton was elected in 1992. Sud­denly, we had a pres­i­dent who was five years younger than my par­ents. I sensed what a shock this was for them — and how much more so for the politi­cians half a gen­er­a­tion or so older, re­al­iz­ing that their mo­ment had passed.

We still haven’t elected a pres­i­dent my age. But now, it’s the nom­i­nees for the Supreme Court, the lofti­est ju­di­cial bench in the na­tion. The most re­cent one was Brett Ka­vanaugh, three years older than me, who, as it hap­pens, was very closely scru­ti­nized be­cause of his teenage years.

In Oc­to­ber, Ka­vanaugh was con­firmed to the Supreme Court. Be­fore that hap­pened, a wo­man who is two years older than me ac­cused him of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing her at a party — throw­ing his body on top of hers and at­tempt­ing to take off her clothes — when he was 17 and she was 15.

Her story has a ring of truth to it. Ka­vanaugh, though, de­nies that this hap­pened. US sen­a­tors ques­tioned him about his high school days, his drink­ing habits at the time, his be­hav­ior to­ward other young women.

For many of my friends, it awak­ened mem­o­ries of the boys our age. Of the things that hap­pened to them, the things they saw these boys do or heard them say. Be­hav­ior that was laughed off then, or ig­nored, or which some have been grap­pling with ever since. And when they lis­tened to Ka­vanaugh’s de­nials — his claims that he was not a heavy drinker, that he never dis­re­spected women — they were an­gry.

Some of my friends have even talked re­cently to those boys, who are now mid­dle-aged men. Some of these men are ac­tu­ally of­fer­ing apolo­gies, for petty cru­el­ties or gross vi­o­la­tions. We are mid­dle-aged now, and try­ing to make sense of our teenage years. We owe a lot of apolo­gies, and many of us should re­ceive some. It’s painful, but it’s bet­ter than de­nial.

as­sault [E(so:lt] über­fallen; hier: nöti­gen cen­ter-part [(sent&r pa:rt] Mit­telscheit­el­cru­elty [(kru:elti] Grausamkeit fea­ture [(fi:ts&r] zeigen grap­ple with sth. [(gräp&l WIT] sich mit etw. herum­schla­gen gross [grous] grob ju­di­cial bench [dzu)dis&l (bents] Richter­schaft lofty [(lo:fti] er­haben lush [LVS] üp­pig nom­i­nee [)na:mi(ni:] Kan­di­dat(in) pan­el­ing [(pän&lin] Wand­verklei­dung petty [(peti] klein, un­wichtig scru­ti­nize [(skru:t&naiz] prüfen, hin­ter­fra­gen star­tlingly [(sta:rt&linli] über­raschend, verblüf­fend Supreme Court [su)pri:m (ko:rt] US Ver­fas­sungs­gericht vi­o­la­tion [)vaie(leis&n] Mis­sach­tung, Über­griff

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