-

The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

-

viewpoint

Observer columnist writes controversial column

| Tuesday, October 9, 2018

In light of the growing Kavanaugh controversy, Observer columnist Andrew Rebholz published a column last week attempting to reconcile disparate political parties, sympathizing with Prof. Ford and other assault victims in our country, while at the same time understanding that nobody ought to be villainized until a certain burden of proof has been met. In right and just measure, Rebholz has been ridiculed as a misogynist and provocateur, his column excised from Observer operations and ND officials considering expulsion.

“We should feel for Professor Ford, and all victims of sexual assault — it would be entirely inhuman not to,” Rebholz writes. “Their feelings, as well as their expeditions into the public eye, should be respected with the utmost sincerity. I mean, when assault occurs, it’s simply the worst crime I could ever possibly imagine. We should never reach a point in our national consciousness when we fail to take such allegations seriously, and we always need to be careful we don’t contort such instances into farcical shenanigans of political posturing.” The columnist took a lot of heat for this paragraph, Democrats across campus were angered by his targeting implication that they’d somehow turned the Kavanaugh hearing into some sort of circus. Such devolving of the situation’s nuance into mere “posturing” ignores the emotions of the women injured, and Rebholz does this cruelly with comments such as this.

“At the same time, we need to remember the system of due process that has defended justice throughout our country’s history,” Rebholz unfeelingly continues. “The sudden need to villainize Kavanaugh, as well as his family and associates, before even considering whether available evidence satisfies the burden of proof, is in itself an irresponsible and irrational action. Although we absolutely need to prosecute and penalize individuals who are guilty of sexual assault, we cannot treat each and every accusation with the weight of the word of God — there is a need for the victim to present proper evidence before we can jump to conclusions. The sanctity of our codes and laws in these circumstances is integral to maintaining the values that have made America the country that it is, champion of liberty and equality.”

Exemplified in that abrasive and offensive use of the notoriously misogynistic Byronic long-dash, Rebholz here is directly flaunting his male-privilege. Look at the callous ways he discounts the female voice, subjugating her to the law of the land. Very apparently, passages like this obviate the need for heroic figures like Sen. Feinstein, who pull stories like Prof. Ford’s into the limelight. Rebholz is just another male ruining the American people by denying the cultural passions permeating our era. Quite simply, he’s choosing to be on the wrong side of history.

“To best respect and represent both parties, taking accusations seriously while not exploding into impassioned prejudgments, we as a country can best process our problems and work toward a better future. I hope that, through a more considerate approach — that is, listening to both sides and judging fairly off of the evidence — we can all grow toward a national consciousness of Reason, moving away from the view that these sorts of issues are ideologically divisive between parties. They’re not — stopping sexual assault and maintain a fair rule of law are two goals deserving of a non-partisan, unifying esteem.” His dismal depiction of the future of our country truly and honestly paints a picture of our problematic times: the Republican party has no concern for women. And, of course, that means that Republicans also have no concern for other minority groups, such as those of various racial/ethnic traditions, or those of sexual identifications differing from the heteronormative. This Catholic, conservative viewpoint reeks of its patriarchal egocentrism, and, though I personally try to be friendly and charitable to the beliefs and arguments of others, I simply cannot see how people like he and I could ever get along.

His final paragraphs were a moral polemic aimed at the Left’s attempts to delay the hearing, attempts he saw as becoming more and more obvious the more Booker, Harris and Blumenthal prodded their punching bag. Of course, this is absolutely and indemonstrably a false accusation! I intend to show that to the reader with the utmost haste, and thus call for an NDSP investigation to hunt down the damning evidence waiting somewhere behind Rebholz’s claims. Oh, now? No — but I’ll be sure to get you the results supporting my arguments, so that everyone can see why I’m clearly right and he’s clearly wrong. The evidence we’ve seen isn’t everything, I promise. I’ll present this all in another column, just please wait till after midterms.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Tags: , , ,

About Andrew Rebholz

Contact Andrew