Lindsey Graham speaks a dark truth. We laugh and cover our ears.

Summary: Senator Lindsey Graham speaks to us honestly, an unforgivable crime for an American politician. He talks of using the massive national security machinery to enforce his vision of a safe America, something patriots have done innumerable times before. His words are just another step on a long road to the death of the Republic, a road on which we’ve already gone a long way.  {1st of 2 posts today.}

Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Dr. Franklin “What have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” “A republic, if you can keep it” replied the Doctor.

— Entry of 18 September 1787 in the Papers of Dr. James McHenry on the Federal Convention of 1787 (signer the Constitution, our 3rd Secretary of War, & namesake of Fort McHenry).

Our burning constitution

One source of amusement in the dying days of the Republic is seeing our astonishment as we pass each milestone on the road to its collapse. Our response is necessary. We must feign surprise at each step least we acknowledge the process — and feel obligated to act. It’s the only way to minimize our cognitive dissonance from our failure to fulfill our obligations as citizens, falling short of the high standards set by the generations before us.

Gallup has run the confidence in institutions survey since 1973. Each year our confidence in the institutions of the Republic declines, while confidence in the police and especially the military rises. See the ugly numbers here. The fraction of citizens who vote drops; the fraction that donates time and money to the parties drops even faster.

It doesn’t take Nostradamus to see the likely end. Eventually a crisis will create panic, and we’ll turn to those with power whom we trust. In American that’s people with guns wearing uniforms.

“What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”
— Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to Colin Powell (chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) in the 1990s, about Bosnia, from Madam Secretary: A Memoir (2003), p. 182.

That’s the context for Lindsey Graham’s comments at the Concord City Republican Committee. He is the senior senator from South Carolina, famous for his both advocacy of authoritarianism — and contempt for the Constitution (such as his opposition to the first amendment see here, here, and here). He’s the kind of man to speak what others only dare think, to see the weapon on the wall and realize it can be used.

Lindsey Graham, 2006 official portrait

…and here is the first thing I would do if I were President of the United States, I wouldn’t let Congress leave town until we fix this. I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to.

“We’re not leaving town until we restore these defense cuts. We’re not leaving town until we restore the intel cuts.”

Kudos to Benn Swann for this first-rate reporting!  It’s a gaffe as described by Michael Kinsley: “when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.” He’ll suffer no adverse effects from this, any more than from his other similar (albeit less outrageous) speeches.

Next comes the ritualistic partisan response. The Left will huff and puff, enjoying their feeling of superiority. The Right will pretend nothing happened, or pass it off Graham’s remarks as a joke. And perhaps it was. Truths we are unready to hear are often said first as humor. That was the role of the court jester. And it is funny, but the joke is on us — the ones whose apathy and passivity make all this possible.

Eventually this kerfuffle will die down, having served its purpose by making us slightly more accustomed to what is coming. Then we wait until the next chapter of this so far sad story.

For More Information

For links to other posts about these things:

Other posts about the decay of the Republic:

Some inspirational speeches:

5 thoughts on “Lindsey Graham speaks a dark truth. We laugh and cover our ears.

  1. Graham is a joke. To you And to me. Yet he speaks for many people in his State and enough others. This just the way it is. Won’t change much until he and they are dead. Just like a day is 24 hours.
    Lotsa Americans like it just the way it is. And by God just realize that’s the way America rolls these days!

    Breton

  2. Pretty outrageous that a sitting senator thinks like this, but sadly not surprising.

    There’s something in the water in D.C. Representative Jaime Herrera Buehler swore on a stack of Bibles (figuratively) that she would be all for citizens’ rights if she were elected to Congress, and then voted for the NDAA with its indefinite detention clause.

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