An Historical Week, A Divided Nation | by Lisa Davis

In the coming years, you will, no doubt, remember where you were on September 27, 2018, during the hearing likened to the “Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas” showdown of this generation. It has been a week-long circus of media madness and approximately four or so hours of heart-wrenching testimony intertwined somewhere in the mix. Regardless of your position on the relevancy and accuracy of the testimony, everyone can agree that our Nation has become even more divided across party lines than ever before.

Over the last week as the country waited and discussed possible theories, another person came forward claiming Judge Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her. One week was enough time for this molehill to become a very large, very high, and very dense mountain.

I spoke with a few people I frequently see every week. We discussed their views on the upcoming testimony scheduled for Thursday. I again spoke with some after the hearing to learn whether their points of view had changed. Most did not change their perspectives, but the common element they did share was the belief that our country is headed down the wrong direction.

The people I photographed are from different backgrounds and cultures and hold very distinct beliefs about our country. They use a variety of media forms, newspapers, laptops, mobile phones, televisions, and desktop computers, to connect with Washington D.C. as the Senate Judiciary Committee conducts their hearings. They followed the hearings closely and had their own attitudes about how Dr. Ford’s and Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony came across.

Shilpa catches up on any new developments in between classes. She believes that Dr. Ford’s allegations should be heard. The situation reminds her of an Indian female celebrity who was a victim of and advocate against sexual assault. It took years before she came forward to tell her story for fear of public backlash.

Valeria followed the Kavanaugh hearings over the last week. She recently moved to the United States from Mexico and she said, “she has never seen anything like this before”.

Charly is a proud Republican and has followed the Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination hearings since the first day. He said, “The world has changed. A person is guilty until proven innocent and that is not what this country was founded on”.

Christi is a proud Republican and believes Socrates said it best, “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser”. She adds, “The left will do whatever it takes, even if it destroys lives”.

“Judge Kavanaugh was evasive in his original hearing and is here too. I don’t like when he turns it around on the people asking questions…too combative,” said Susan, a retired teacher who does not want to see another Republican on the Supreme Court.

Mark stays on top of the latest political news. He does not support President Trump nor Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court. “I just don’t like the way our country is being run. It’s just sad”, stated Mark.

Allison takes a moment to teach her son, Lincoln, about the democratic process. “I wish we could move on from the coverage and report when there’s more of a decision”, she told me.

The November elections are the focal point in this upscale neighborhood in Tarrytown. These signs line one perfectly manicured yard. This drives home just how important the midterm elections will be to everyone of all socio-economic backgrounds. The outcome of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings will impact the upcoming midterm elections.

Beto O’Rourke is the clear favorite in this Tarrytown neighborhood. The signs far outnumber those of his competitor, Senator Ted Cruz.
Beto O’Rourke is the clear favorite in this Tarrytown neighborhood. The signs far outnumber those of his competitor, Senator Ted Cruz.

Melissa watches the live nomination hearing as Kavanaugh reads his statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Victims of sexual assault need to be heard”, Melissa stated.

Wesley’s reaction to the media frenzy, “Wow”.

Alison checks her phone before her Pilates class for updates about the Kavanaugh hearing. She feels the media coverage and the biases they bring will have negative and lasting effects on the democracy of our country.
As you can see, my friends and family are very interested in the events that occurred this past week in Washington, D.C. They are informed and intelligent citizens who believe in hearing definitive facts before forming a concrete opinion or passing judgment. By keeping an open mind during each person’s testimony, they were able to form a knowledgeable opinion. Simply believing differently from other people doesn’t indicate that they will fight with each other over who’s right and who’s s wrong. The great thing about the United States is that its citizens are allowed to have differences of opinion.

It is when people don’t take the time to listen to other points of view, that it becomes nearly impossible to make an intelligent decision and take a definitive stance on politics or any other contentious topic.