Jacques: Should we be judged by our yearbooks?

Ingrid Jacques
The Detroit News

Serious question: How many of you would want to be judged today solely based on who you were and what you did in college or high school?

I spent more than five years working with college students at a previous job, and I saw them make all kinds of mistakes and demonstrate bad judgment. But pretty much all of them are now upstanding citizens doing excellent work in their respective fields.

Brett Kavanaugh

I was also once a college student.

People make mistakes, and young people make even more (generally speaking). This is part of growing up.

It’s also why 18-year-olds aren’t elected to Congress, or 17-year-olds appointed to the Supreme Court.

So Democrats should be careful about this new standard they’re setting. Just look at how quickly Democratic presidential candidates, including Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Cory Booker, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, jumped on the latest flimsy accusation against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Following a New York Times piece over the weekend about a new decades-old allegation against Kavanaugh, all these Democrats immediately called for his impeachment. Even after the Times amended the article to include a note that the “victim” didn’t even recall the incident in question, they remained steadfast.

Kavanaugh once again faces a smear campaign for actions that allegedly took place during his college and high school days.

Democrats are on a relentless mission to marginalize Kavanaugh, assassinate his character and undermine his effectiveness, regardless of how low they have to go.

Ahead of his confirmation, Kavanaugh put it best when being grilled by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee about details in his high school yearbook, saying this was "a new level of absurdity."

It is absurd. Kavanaugh’s decades of excellent work and his character as an adult have never been called into question.

Shouldn’t that matter more than what may have transpired at parties as a teenager or college kid?

Those Democrats calling for Kavanaugh’s head surely wouldn’t want to apply the same standard to themselves.

When O’Rourke was facing heat for several arrests two decades ago, he was quick to say people should forgive him. And while he wasn’t convicted for either offense, he was charged with burglary for jumping a fence in college and then with drunken driving several years later.

“Both incidents were due to poor judgment, and I have no excuse for my behavior then,” he told a Texas paper in 2017. “However, since then, I have used my opportunities to serve my community and my state. I’m grateful for the second chance and believe that we all deserve second chances.”

Apparently Kavanaugh doesn't deserve the same courtesy.

Canadian Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau makes a statement in regards to a photo coming to light of himself from 2001, wearing "brownface," during a scrum on his campaign plane in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019.

Yearbooks have caused headaches for other politicians. Media darling Justin Trudeau, Canada's prime minister, is the latest. This week a 2001 photo emerged of him wearing brownface makeup at an “Arabian Nights” party at a private school where he taught. He's also admitted to wearing blackface at a high school event.

Similarly, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam got caught up this year in a yearbook scandal, when a photo on his 1984 medical yearbook page showed someone in blackface. Northam apologized, but then later denied he was in the photo. His alma mater, Eastern Virginia Medical School, has since spent more than $360,000 to investigate the photo.

Regardless of whether you agree with the politics of these individuals, trying to destroy their whole careers over some unfortunate, immature decisions from their youth seems a dangerous precedent to set.