To much ado and many theatrics, the Senate on Tuesday opened the confirmation hearing of Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's nominee to take over Justice Anthony Kennedy's Supreme Court seat.
The left, understanding deep down that not much can be done to prevent the confirmation of another conservative justice (in part thanks to the phenomenally self-destructive politicking of former-Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid), has looked instead for ways to cope with the impending reality.
For many, the feeling of helplessness in the face of the inevitable was apparently too much to bear, and they have retreated into paranoia and conspiracy theory.
As any casual Twitter user must have noticed by now, the digital space has been crowded by countless progressive Alex Joneses who would swear on "Nannette" that Zina Bash, a GOP operative who also clerked for Kavanaugh, has been sending coded messages to white supremacists (as to supposedly signal something like: "Operation Reptilian Takeover is a go").
Kavanaugh’s former law clerk Zina Bash is flashing a white power sign behind him during his Senate confirmation hearing. They literally want to bring white supremacy to the Supreme Court. What a national outrage and a disgrace to the rule of law. pic.twitter.com/uQGOpNa6xg— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) September 4, 2018
Of course, it's impossible to prove that Bash -- the daughter of a Jewish father and a Mexican mother -- intentionally folded her fingers into the "OK" sign (which some interpret to mean "White Power") as an alt-right dog whistle. But that's what makes conspiracies so engrossing!
Smirky Zina Bash who worked for Trump and is now assisting Kavanaugh is having such a wonderful time flashing the white power hand sign this morning. pic.twitter.com/ha5KGq1V7r— Cornelia (@PaladinCornelia) September 4, 2018
For those of more refined taste, who like their conspiracies more subtle, there was the testimony of Democratic lawyer Lisa Blatt in which she expressed support for Kavanaugh. Why would a quote-unquote "liberal feminist" do such a thing?
Surely it's corruption, corporate greed, and dark money from big-pharma and big tobacco, speculated HuffPost and Slate. Yes, admits the HuffPost Washington bureau chief, "e
Kavanaugh backers are trying to claim that even a "liberal feminist lawyer" is supporting him. But the actual record of DC lawyer Lisa Blatt, due to testify at Kavanaugh's hearing next week, shows she puts corporate interests ahead of progressive causes.https://t.co/cQggeYE8dt— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) August 31, 2018
But not for everyone is the passive consumption of online conspiracies. Some resisters preferred drama therapy to deal with their unresolved anxiety.
With Justice Neil Gorsuch already delivering on his Scalian promise, Kavanaugh's appointment opens up a very real possibility of Roe v. Wade being gutted or otherwise weakened. This should disconcert anyone who believes a woman should have control over the matter of procreation. And indeed, some women-advocacy groups are gearing up for a protracted battle -- nationally and on the state level.
Women dressed in Handmaid’s Tale costumes outside day 1 of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing —> pic.twitter.com/jwaLXmcU3S— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) September 4, 2018
But others, less inclined to proactive legal work, chose performance art.
Some brought signs.
Others yet have moved past denial and bargaining to anger. In the political-activism version of primal therapy, they've raged at the dying of the light, disrupting the Tuesday and Wednesday hearings with shrieks, slurs, and droll ("Roe-Yes, Kava-Nope!") protest signs.
This unruly drama, along with the prolonged, grandstanding of lawmakers, has already made the hearings both farcical and interminable. But neither stands a chance to change the outcome.
And then there was the one; the one whose Nirvana-like insight has reconciled him with the inescapable. He is at peace. He is one with the absurd.
It's a long and lonely path.
If this guy dressed as a condom is AGAINST Judge Kavanaugh, it is safe to say I SUPPORT Judge Kavanaugh pic.twitter.com/SIzTEcoNxN— Jacob Daniels (@theJacobDaniels) September 4, 2018
Adaam James is a senior editor at Pluralist.