Common high school activites should not follow you throughout life

Ellie Werthman

I think we could all agree that the majority of elected officials in Washington go out after dealing with a gridlock and cut-throat politicians to have drinks.

In college, I assume as social, charismatic, upcoming politicians, they had their fair share of drinks. Maybe they even had some crazy nights in high school. Despite knowing this, we still elect them, and the actions they made in high school and college do not define the people they are today.

Maturity increases with age and as voters, we recognize this. People make mistakes as their frontal lobe continues to develop, and we hope they learn from them, which is why we hold people to a higher standard as their age increases.

As drinking patterns often change, the persona a person takes on when drinking often does not, and when that person causes harm to someone else when drinking, they must be held accountable.

In light of the most recent Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh and the MeToo movement, Americans began to question to what extent people should be held accountable for the decisions they made when they were younger. What happens when it goes beyond getting too drunk? What happens when it is not rape but sexual assault? Where does the burden to prove fall: the accuser or the accused? Are people still innocent until proven guilty?

I am a woman growing up in a generation much more accepting than Dr. Christine Ford’s, yet I still grapple with these questions. My opinions on the matter are gray and circumstantial. The pain I feel for Dr. Ford is immeasurable, but I also believe in our legal system that nobody is guilty until found so by a proper jury.

We also expect more from people whom we instill our trust in, such as our Supreme Court justices. While I do not think someone should be on the Supreme Court whom the people do not trust, a person’s career should not be ended based upon accusations.

Our system to prosecute people accused of sexual assault needs to change. People are coming forward from when there were no advocates in society for the victim, but while we are not where we should be, the climate surrounding sexual assault has changed.

People should be held responsible for their actions when drinking or when they harm others, but it is naive and hypocritical to act as if politicians drinking is a rarity when we do not agree with their opinions.

In regards to Brett Kavanaugh, I do not know what happened that nightin 1982; nobody does who was not there that night, but I can hope. And I will. I hope that if the worst thing Kavanaugh has done is drink too much beer at a party, we can recognize that he was young.

I hope this experience encourages Kavanaugh to recognize the pain victims of sexual assault experience and use his power on the Supreme Court to advocate for women. I also hope that the government’s embarrassing excuse for an investigation does not discourage other brave women from coming forward to tell the truth.