Il gatto di Schrödinger e la realtà parallela del giudice Kavanaugh

Supreme court – Illustration made for the story of Nathan Englander. Client: La Stampa

Kavanaugh vs Blasey Ford

“I spent nearly a decade composing a novel about Argentina’s Dirty War, trying to imagine what it must have been like for the common person to live in a kind of quantum mechanical, Schrödinger’s cat society, where both one reality and it’s complete opposite seem to function simultaneously. I wondered what it must have been like to be both innocent and guilty, anonymous citizen and the enemy of a state that had somehow declared war on itself.

A year ago, I published another novel, this one about the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. And I need not break down for any reader the dual realities, and dual narratives, that run through such a book. We are all familiar with that continuing conflict by now. Simply, people forced to live in parallel realities is a subject that, in different ways, can be traced through much of my work.
But I have to say, despite dedicating a good hunk of my adult life to pondering how such tensions affect my characters, I was unprepared for how the conflicting realities with which Americans now live would come to rattle me.

I’d thought, if it ever happened here, I’d be prepared. And I was, for a while. I wasn’t at all surprised at the start of this presidency when the White House responded to the radically different photos contrasting Trump’s inauguration crowd with Obama’s. There was the now famous claim by the White House Press Secretary that the undeniably smaller gathering was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.”

Absurd and nonsensical as that was, I had expected things to be like that. And I knew the moment that false statement was made, there were people all over the country who would look at the photo with less people in it and suddenly, magically, see more. I knew that our national reality had officially been split—and another, parallel version of events would exist simultaneously alongside mine.

As those two realities continued to diverge, I tried my best to keep my wits
about me, and my facts straight. But what I’ve witnessed with the Kavanaugh nomination to the Supreme Court has finally tipped me past my point of preparedness. I now find myself in utter disbelief over the gap between what both sides believe.

The Senate Judicial Committee Hearings focusing on the sexual assault
charges against Judge Brett Kavanaugh were astonishing and deeply troubling. The charges against Kavanaugh were levied by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who came forward to share her account before the senators. The eleven men in the majority were too afraid of optics to address Dr. Ford themselves, and so hid behind a female proxy who questioned Ford on their behalf.

If you ask me what Dr. Ford’s testimony sounded like, I’ll tell you that it
sounded like truth. What I heard was someone under extraordinary pressure and extreme public scrutiny, calmly and bravely sharing a personal trauma with the nation, and the world. It sounded exactly like a sincere and honest person making herself vulnerable because she was worried that someone unfit for the position might be put in charge of deciding the laws that affect all of our lives.

And then there was the man she was accusing. While proclaiming his innocence, Kavanaugh’s demeanor was unnerving. He was angry at times and self righteous at times. He was full of partisan rancor, going as far as attributing Dr. Ford’s appearance before the committee to a left-wing conspiracy, and mentioning the Clintons by name.

There were obfuscations and verbal acrobatics that sounded
like the feeble excuses dishonest children make when caught in a lie. It was some of the smallest deflections that loomed largest, as when Kavanaugh offered a preposterous denial of an implicit sexual innuendo.

When the majority began speaking, I watched, stunned, as his excuse turned into a satisfying explanation, beyond reproach. I understood then that what I was witnessing was not what some of those senators were seeing. That the credulity, honesty, and integrity undeniably being brought into question appeared as a kind of stoicism to senators like Lindsay Graham. My absolutes were absolutely malleable.

It really was impossible for me to think that anyone could have seen what I
had just seen and think that Dr. Blasey Ford was lying, or that Judge Kavanaugh had the kind of balanced temperament, or could muster the neutrality, that would make him a fitting choice for the Supreme Court.
I literally couldn’t believe how far we, as a nation, had already been divided.

And there I was, a spectator, watching my reality split further from the other in real time. As unsettling as it was to think that those senators who still supported Kavanaugh’s nomination had somehow been convinced by his shaky, troubling testimony over that of the measured Dr. Ford’s, as time passes I think I may be more scared that some of them believe her and just don’t care.”

Story by: Nathan Englander
Client: La Stampa

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