More than one participant (including Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh) described today’s hearing as a “circus.” With respect to the contestants, that is too light a term, since there was nothing amusing about it. Today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing could be best described as a “gladiatorial pit.”

Nothing new was said by either Dr. Christine Blasey Ford or Judge Kavanaugh; both delivered their accusations and denunciations, respectively, according to script. Their delivery was markedly different, however. Ford seemed cowed, quiet and determined, and she became emotional on occasion. Kavanaugh was a broken man, but still standing, weeping for himself, his family and his country. “You have destroyed my career and my family,” he accused Senate Democrats. Kavanaugh could hardly get through his remarks, stopping numerous times to wipe away tears when, for example, he mentioned he father, his girls’ basketball team and his own daughter’s prayers for Dr. Ford.

CBS News reported that the Administration considered Kavanaugh’s testimony a positive development, with the President tweeting:

“Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him.. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!”

Aside from the testimony of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh, the most electrifying statement came from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who called the hearing “the most despicable spectacle I have ever experienced in my years of public service.” Leaning forward and pointing his finger at committee Democrats, Graham assailedKavanaugh’s opposition:

“If you wanted an FBI investigation, you could have come to us. What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open and hope you win in 2020…. I would never do to [Democratic Supreme Court appointees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan] what you’re doing to this guy.”

As with Justice Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, history is unlikely to reveal the whole truth. There may always be those who believe Dr. Ford and those who believe Judge Kavanaugh. Passion too easily overwhelms reason, and so it may be that who one chooses to believe will depend upon one’s political views