Dear Jeff Flake:
I oppose the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. I opposed it before the allegations of sexual assault surfaced, but I have a perspective that I think it important to share: like Kavanaugh, until very recently, I believed I never had (or would, or could have) committed sexual assault.
I was wrong.
No one who knows me would think me capable of such a thing. I could produce a line of character witnesses, male and female, who would testify to my decency, to the inconceivability, the impossibility, of such an allegation.
But they all would be wrong.
I recently learned of a memory, a memory of a childhood friend. The details of the memory aren’t important here, but the bottom line is that she remembers me perpetrating a sexual assault with a friend, that the memory has haunted her, has persisted, for nearly forty years.
Neither the friend nor I recall the assault. We were a bit younger than Kavanaugh at the time. Alcohol may have been involved. But my friend and I differ from Kavanaugh in a crucial way: confronted with the specifics of the memory, with its intensity, and alas, with its circumstantial plausibility, we don’t deny something we can’t remember.
My absence of a memory is no answer to the presence of one.
Neither is Kavanaugh’s.