The Plot Thickens
Outside the registration room of the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) Conference there was a small display of cardboard posters on stands. Each poster board was printed with pictures that were being awarded prizes in a competition. As I made my way down the display, I was most struck by the picture of Christine Blasey Ford as she swore an oath of honesty before testifying against Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
The photo was taken by Win McGee. It depicts Ford standing straight, right hand raised, eyes closed, mouth slightly ajar, hair the tiniest bit frizzy. She’s asymmetrically balanced against the dark wood background. There’s nothing to distract from her standing there, donned in a navy blue pantsuit, as she holds back the terror that’s likely about to spill onto her face.
I have never watched Ford’s testimony against Kavanaugh, even now, a year after it was given. Still, I understand the gravity of the moment that photo represents. I knew it was a big deal, without even knowing the words spoken, or having knowledge of Blasey’s spiritual predecessor Anita Hill.
Seeing the photo of Ford placed alongside other images, like Emma Gonzalez crying, made me realize a key thing I had never thought before: I’m living through history. One day, maybe even as short of time as a year from now, that photo will be in a history textbook. Ford’s testimony will be taught in schools alongside the Columbine and Parkland shootings, the School Climate Strike, and Barak Obama’s election as President.
Even so, just because history is being made and I’m aware of it does not mean I am a part of it. Thirty years from now my child will ask me about Ford and I’ll describe to them what it was like seeing the photo for the first time. But I will also say I didn’t protest in March For Our Lives, though I wanted to. I didn’t become an activist against climate change, though I thought I should.
I want to be able to say that I was an active participant in the history I lived through. To do so I realized I must take a stand for what I believe in. In some strange, secondhand way, I have Christine Blasey Ford and Win McGee to thank for that.