I've been laying low after the testimony last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I was sitting at my computer, finessing a point I was trying to make in the book I'm writing while listening simultaneously to the proceedings on my iPad. Like much of America, I was drawn in by the testimony and couldn't tear myself away. I closed my Pages application and settled in as the minutes ticked away into hours.
The last thing I'm going to do is weigh in on the tacky Monday morning QB "who won?" question, because, as we all witnessed, nobody did. I admit that I had tears streaming down my face during several moments, as yet another layer of America's ugly onion was peeled back for the world to see.
We're in a really tough place right now.
I watched as live viewer comments scrolled across my screen while heart and angry-face emojis bubbled up the page like the carbonation in a frosty glass of Coca Cola. "She's lying! Nice, try sweetheart!" wrote one man. "Look at him crying! Is THIS who we want on the Supreme Court?!" said one lady. The hate and judgments flew as fast as my boys' fingers on their Fortnite controller.
When it was all over, I was spent. My face was splotchy and my eyes were puffy. And all I felt was a tremendous sense of sadness.
This is who we've become.
Men supported him. Women supported her. Conservatives agreed with him. Liberals got behind her. And the politicians – with their despicable lack of tact or decorum – sealed the deal. American justice isn't about you or me. It's about power. And money. And control. I don't care about your politics. How you vote isn't who you are. Unless, of course, you've lost who you are.
I have as much power over the greed of our lawmakers as I do control over the nightly headlines that tell us America is sunk. So that night, I did what I know how to do best. I made a huge platter of my sons' favorite chori pollo, took out Yahtzee, and settled with my family around the kitchen table. Listening to them giggle. Watching Murphy whip around a terrible towel in his mouth. Remembering what matters.
Joe and I went to see Michael at Clemson last weekend. I've never seen a football game like that one versus Syracuse. Tailgaters had flat-bedded their entire living rooms – leather sofas, 80 inch flat-screen TVs, portable satellite dishes and full kitchens – to sit in the South Carolina sunshine and escape the storm of Washington. I heard not one person talk about Dr. Ford or Judge Kavanaugh. The roar at Death Valley rattled my chest, and, for several hours, I felt whole again.
Before I said goodbye to my son, I put my arms around him and breathed him in. Perhaps there's hope, after all. Maybe he or one of his classmates can right this sinking ship. Perhaps America can climb out of its ugly abyss.
"I love you, sweetheart," I said in his chest.
Good luck out there, son. We're all counting on you.