The Jefferson Effect

thomas-jefferson-sally-hemings
(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

It is truly amazing to watch the political turmoil surrounding Brett Kavanaugh. He has been credibly accused of sexual assault. And yet, men responsible to the American people are still supporting him. Even some women support him.

And, yes I said the accusation is credible. I know she’s telling the truth. I know this because I too have a 40 year old secret about sexual abuse. You can read my story here: https://tsuhainzinga.wordpress.com/2018/09/24/whyididnttell/

But that’s not what I want to talk about right now. Right now, America is in a real crisis. A Supreme Court nominee has been credibly accused of sexual assault and the men responsible for confirming him won’t condemn him.

I, as so many of us have, had to ask why?

It is the Jefferson Effect.

Thomas Jefferson had sex with a slave woman who bore his children. He was a man of great reputation, a President. He had sexual freedom. He used his sexual freedom. Like slave owners all over the south, Jefferson took sex whenever he wanted from whomever he wanted. It didn’t start with Jefferson, but it is Jefferson’s fame as the writer of the Declaration of Independence and his presidency that makes his sexual license so significant. Men everywhere have followed his example throughout the history of this country. Power means sexual license for men and Jefferson is the most prominent figure of this belief. His name is not invoked, but his legacy lives on today.

Male sexual license in positions of power is truly a Jefferson legacy and it’s playing out again right before our eyes.

Jefferson didn’t court Sally Hemmings. He simply took her when she was 14 years old. Because he could.

Brett Kavanaugh held a woman down in an attempt to rape her. He was simply going to take her. Because he could.

Jefferson suffered no consequences. In fact, Monticello has been remodeled to expose Sally Hemmings’ room. It’s almost celebratory. Even though acknowledging the sexual relationship took almost 200 years. And few call it rape.

Brett Kavanaugh suffered no consequences at the time of the attempted rape. He may even be confirmed as Supreme Court Justice. It’s almost celebratory. Even if the men acknowledge the attempted rape. And few even believe it.

This is the legacy of Thomas Jefferson. Father of Liberty. Father of male sexual licentiousness.

Every rapist in America follows this legacy with fervency. They believe, like Jefferson, that they are “endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights” and that among those rights is the right to put their penises anywhere they so choose.

It is Jefferson’s legacy of rape that allows the men in Congress to continue to support Kavanaugh.

It is Jefferson’s legacy of rape that made #MeToo a movement.

Jefferson’s “liberty” is his assertion to his right to sexual license and men everywhere believe in Liberty.

#NoToKavanaugh #MeToo #TimesUp

Advertisements