The First Annual American Hunger Games: Kavanaugh vs. Ford

When Suzanne Collins's novel The Hunger Games came out, many thought it was too dark, an unrealistic future scenario where government and media force 24 kids to fight to the death, with only one survivor.

No, not so far-fetched – we're nearly there.

We just watched our Capitol (Democrats) rip an innocent man, Judge Kavanaugh, to shreds – a television event, a show. 

Like Panem, we introduce our tributes: Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a brilliant juror with an impeccable record.  He's presented as a family man, a godly man who coaches his girl's soccer team, feeds the homeless in his off time, a saint. 

Then we have a volunteer to the games, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who came forward at the 11th hour of Kavanaugh's confirmation to claim that Kavanaugh groped her 36 years ago in high school.  She says she's so damaged by the attack that she can barely function to this day.

We have wall-to-wall media coverage leading up to the hearing.  This media extravaganza is to engage the audience, let viewers pick whom to root for, whom to sponsor ($700K GoFundMe to help Dr. Ford), whom to bet on (PredictIt).

And we have the main event.  The show starts and the country's people are glued to their sets as Dr. Ford testifies.  She sounds like a little girl, has a valley-girl lilt to her speech, and can't remember anything except Judge Kavanaugh – no date, no place, no details about how she got there or got home.  She does recall how many beers she had: just one, thank you very much.  To lock in her testimony, she's named witnesses, though not one of them knows what she's talking about. 

None of that matters.  Her performance is stellar.  Talking heads on both sides agree: Kavanaugh is toast.  Even those rooting for Kavanaugh think he's been mortally wounded.  The consensus: Kavanaugh will have to come out swinging if he's to survive.

Audiences nervously watch as Judge Kavanaugh passionately defends his name, his family, his life.  He rails at the Senate Gamemakers who set up this ambush, condemns those who attacked him and his family, destroyed the life he's spent decades building. 

Kavanaugh comes across as genuine, sincere in his defense. 

The political betting market PredictIt's odds rise to above 85 cents on Friday from 36 cents intraday on Kavanaugh's confirmation.  The committee schedules a vote for the next day.

But then another volunteer tribute, Jeff Flake, stops the process, demands another delay, another FBI investigation.  Kavanaugh is again on defense, hunted by those who want to take him out.  

We have become Panem.  As in the Hunger Games, Kavanaugh's future depends on his performance in the arena, on his opponent's performance.  Are they credible, believable?

The most dangerous sign that we're headed for a dystopic, sadistic society is the media.  In Panem, media never condemn the savage murder of children.  They enable the games, glamorize the battle, turn a slaughter of innocents into reality TV. 

Likewise, our media don't suffer a minute of remorse or shame for brutalizing an innocent man.  Instead, they enable it, glamorize it, perpetuate it.  They zoom in on Kavanaugh's every wound; Dr. Christine Blasey Ford draws blood; Deborah Ramirez, who says she was flashed, scores a flesh wound; Julie Swetnick, who claims Kavanaugh was "present" at gang rapes, helps to corner Kavanaugh.

So here we are, anxiously awaiting the next episode.  Will Judge Kavanaugh be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice?  Will he be rewarded for a lifetime of achievement, recognized for his unblemished character?  Or will he be denied due to his opponent's believable performance, for his insufficient defense?

After all, Judge Kavanaugh admits he drinks beer, has some suspicious yearbook entries, knows the boys Ford names, and can't prove he didn't do this.  Yes, he gave a powerful, emotional opening statement, but is it enough? 

Will Dr. Ford be judged on her selective amnesia, complete lack of evidence, even contradicting statements by her "witnesses"?  Or will her stellar performance in the arena, her "credible," "believable" presentation, win the day? 

She has the advantage: her sex, a bulletproof vest.  Therefore, she doesn't have to say how much she drinks, what she did in high school, or anything else.  And she hit a home run in the hearing, gave a convincing portrayal of a scarred victim, a damaged survivor.

Stay tuned to see who survives, who claims victory.

Oh, and welcome to the first annual American Hunger Games.  As the tributes' escort, Effie Trinket, would say, "May the odds be ever in your favor."

Image: Kendra Miller via Flickr.

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