Tag Archives: Klobuchar

The Kindness of Strangers

The title of this post is borrowed from the famous last line of Tennessee Williams’ play, A Streetcar Named Desire, see https://bit.ly/3ge4ce1, but has no connection to it:

Blanche [DuBois] is led off to a mental hospital by a matron and a kind-hearted doctor. After a brief struggle, Blanche smilingly acquiesces as she loses all contact with reality, addressing the doctor with the most famous line in the play: “Whoever you are…I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

It’s a line, though, that fits in every other way with my experience yesterday at the rally in support of S.1, the For the People Act. The site was in front of the Supreme Court, an appropriate location to address the need for protection of voting rights for all Americans. Typically for a Democratic rally, at least 18 people were scheduled to speak. It was hot, really hot, and, typically for this time of year in Washington, quite humid. Still, I’ve attended plenty of rallies and marches in all kinds of weather, so no worries. Wrong.

I arrived early and was pleased that among the early speakers were Senators Amy Klobuchar and Jeff Merkley. I secured a good spot for photos with a direct line of sight to the podium. The crowd was smaller than I expected, but vocal and passionate about the matter at hand. Some photos appear at the end of this post.

Returning to my theme, as I continued shooting, I failed to notice how “close” the atmosphere had become. As my lightheadedness become more apparent, I realized, too late, that I needed to leave. I summoned an Uber and moved toward the curb to wait, as the dizziness worsened rapidly. I bent over a few times and was thinking of sitting down on the curb when … I realized that several people had their hands on me. I had literally become unconscious for a few moments. Unknown to me, though, several people had their eyes on me, including at least one police officer and some others from the crowd.

They basically held me up, then pushed me down on the curb. The police officer told me I was not going to leave until they had a medical evaluation. I heard discussion of calling a nurse from the Supreme Court. A complete stranger handed me a bottle of water, assuring me it had been poured that morning from the faucet and was safe. Another person appeared with an even colder unopened bottle of water which I gratefully guzzled. Within what seemed like only a minute to me, Nurse Pat appeared, crushed to active two cold packs and quizzed me about my health and present state. She was really outstanding at nursing and her confidence in my well-being restored my own sense of stability: “Gatorade is your best friend now.”

The Uber car arrived, and the police officer told him what was going on. He made clear that I could not leave yet. The driver, named Michael, without hesitation, insisted on waiting for me.

After a while, when I had regained my composure and was feeling much better, the officer and nurse guided me into the Uber car and off we went. Turned out that Michael was wearing a Harley-Davidson shirt and was a traveler, so we talked motorcycles and Alaska cruises while driving. After a cool shower and some down time with more hydration, I began to feel normal again, though still a bit shaken by the unexpected take-down.

Looking back, several things about this stand out. One, I must be more careful about hydration in this Washington DC heat and humidity. Readers, take note. Two, how amazing it was that within seconds of my going wobbly, people who did not know me had rushed to grab me and prevent a nose-dive into the street. Then they gave up their water to help me recover. Nurse Pat was amazing, kind but firm and obviously very competent.  Three, and this lingers even now, I am upset not so much that this happened, but that I don’t know the names of the strangers who came to my aid. I don’t even know which police department the officers were with: DC or Capitol. I was too dazed to notice or ask. Four, the kindness of these strangers saved me from a potentially serious disaster. No one asked for anything; they just wished me well as I departed, carrying their spontaneous goodwill and generosity with  me. I am and will always be most grateful for the kindness of those strangers.

More Thoughts About the Judiciary Committee Hearing on Kavanaugh

Sen. Whitehouse says he will pursue an investigation by whatever means possible. Grassley immediately interjects his “rebuttal.” Reading from a prepared list of alleged actions, including various “rebuttal” information to the substance of Ford’s statements. Grassley cuts off Sen. Klobuchar who tries to respond to Grassley’s remarks. Classic behavior by Grassley who is doing Trump’s bidding here by supporting Kavanaugh regardless of what evidence may show.

Mitchell refers to the “incident that we’re here about,” a curious choice when the more accurate and precise term would be “sexual assault.” Thereafter, the assault becomes the “incident” or the “event.” Now Mitchell is suggesting that Ford may have experienced other situations that contributed to her PTSD and other results of the attack on her. She also appears to suggest that Ford’s failure to mention Kavanaugh’s name in earlier discussions of the event is somehow significant. Then she suggests through multiple questions that Ford may have lied about her fear of flying when she used that as a reason she asked for the Judiciary Committee staff to come to her for an interview.

Sen Klobuchar brings up the polygraph test that indicated she was truthful in her statements about Kavanaugh. Klobuchar astutely brings up the issue of Kavanaugh’s employment history as being helpful to reconstructing the events. Grassley jumps in again to say that the committee made an offer to go to California.

Debate breaks out after Klobuchar asks that polygraph results be entered in record. Grassley now says more information needs to be in record after he previous refused Ford’s request to have the polygraph examiner testify. Grassley’s role as proponent of the President’s nominee could not be clearer, making a mockery of the concept of “advise and consent.”

Mitchell suggests something amiss in that Ford did not discuss the incident with Republicans. Ford indicates that she did not understand the committee was offering to come to California to interview her. Mitchell makes several chummy comments/jokes to suggest that she is a “friend” of the witness. Obvious technique.

Sen. Blumenthal spends most of his time praising Ford’s courage and hoping for bipartisan recognition of it, citing Sen. Graham’s book on the point. Fat chance, because the Republicans are locked into the Trump position that Ford’s story is a “con job.”

Mitchell explores the polygraph test, including whether she was counseled on how to take a polygraph. Ford is not aware of who paid for the polygraph test. Mitchell indicates the committee has requested copies of audio and or videotapes and other documents involved in the polygraph. Ford “assumed” the polygrapher was taking both video and audio with his computer, but is not sure.

At the root of the problem here is the refusal of the Trump camp to get an FBI investigation. The root is “we don’t want to risk finding out what a real investigation of the specific allegations might produce.” With all due respect to the staff of the Judiciary Committee, they cannot possibly conduct a validated and objective investigation of the person that the majority, their employers, has made absolutely clear is their selection for the Supreme Court.