It seems like everyone I talk to, everything I read, has this dimension of that formative experience coming back to the fore, either because some aspect of the Kavanaugh story (the story of Renate, for instance, or that way you might have hung out on a summer night after sports practice or a detail about blackouts) hits you square in the chest, stops you standing, or else because none of this does — that is, these stories throw into relief how much your high school experience was unlike theirs — and then, suddenly, because your understanding has intersected with this fraught thing, or because it hasn’t, you’re falling back into what you haven’t thought about in years.

The other component, I think, is the uncertainty of this all: the gap between what we know happened in 1982 and what we are unlikely to ever know.

Outside of additional interviews, we’re unlikely to learn much more about what happened in 1982. That seems to be why so much of the Washington discussion has been about process, with Democrats mostly pushing for the FBI investigation, and Republicans mostly emphasizing the document process, rather than outright accusing Kavanaugh or Ford of misremembering or lying.