Lindsey Graham A 'Rich White Lives Matter' Activist Now
A major story broke this week about how law enforcement in South Carolina is routinely seizing cash and property from black people without any due process. This is horrific and something a sitting senator from that state might, you know, care about or at least make a tepid statement opposing.
Tim Scott remained silent. Always a good idea for a black man when the police are involved. But what about South Carolina's senior senator, the shouty guy from the Brett Kavanaugh hearings? He has courageously spoken out against what he perceives as gross violations of a citizen's civil rights.
My questions and full letter to the FBI Director about the tactics used in the arrest of Roger Stone. https://t.co/y1s67DF3Yu— Lindsey Graham (@Lindsey Graham)1548887100.0
Look at Graham "fight the power"! And for such a noble cause. Roger Stone is the most recent Donald Trump associate to be indicted for multiple crimes, including lying to Congress and witness tampering. Graham was flustered by the FBI's aggressive actions of gently knocking on Stone's door before dawn and disturbing him while he's peacefully dreaming of stolen presidential elections. It was all quite rude. They didn't even call to say they were coming.
Trump has "jokingly" given police "permission" to senselessly "rough up" suspects. That was different because we all know what these suspects looked like in Trump's racist brain. Stone himself said the FBI were "extremely courteous" when arresting his treasonous ass. He later "joked" that there were more FBI agents at his house than "security guards at Benghazi," a tragic incident that cost four Americans their lives.
We'll address Graham's specific complaints in a separate post (spoiler alert: They're all bullshit). What interests us now is this sudden concern from prominent conservatives over how law enforcement treats certain criminal suspects. Graham shared some Russian vodka with Sean Hannity Wednesday night and expressed his displeasure with
Elliot Ness's Robert Mueller's tactics.
GRAHAM: The bottom line is, this seems to me over the top, and I don't know what message was being sent. But I personally didn't like it. You know, I've been a prosecutor, a defense attorney. It seemed to be sending the wrong message, that if you cross Mueller, look what's going to happen to you.
Graham is so blinded by the white, he hilariously suggests that just because Stone is an attention-craving kook who'll show up on CNN within a moment's notice, he would obviously turn himself in to authorities without destroying all his hard drives first if asked real nice.
GRAHAM: Mueller, do your job, but these tactics are unacceptable given the level of threat here.
The "level of threat" here is involvement in a coordinated attack on a presidential election. That's a big deal. He wasn't jaywalking. This is a common cultural bias. Rich white guys commit crimes that have a significant impact on millions of Americans (e.g. the financial crisis of 2008) and they are considered "non-violent" offenders because they didn't knock over a liquor store.
Rep. Doug Collins from Georgia also joined Graham in questioning the "amount of force" used in arresting Stone. This is rich because when black people question the "amount of force" often used to arrest us, conservatives accuse us of hating all cops. We apparently don't think "blue lives matter" if we don't want our spines severed while in police custody.
"Although none of the seven charges against Stone is considered to be a violent crime, the FBI demonstrated an immense show of force during an early-morning raid on Stone's home," Collins wrote in his letter to Wray.
You know what also isn't a "violent crime"? Selling loose cigarettes on a New York City street corner. Let's take a look at what happened when Eric Garner was arrested for that BS offense. Stone, meanwhile, is still very much alive with no visible bruises.
"Given the fact that the FBI is embroiled in a scandal related to the origins of this investigation, we are perplexed about why the FBI would use such a show of force in the arrest of an elderly man."
Rep. Collins is just plain "perplexed" that the police would treat a criminal suspect like a criminal suspect. Republicans have been running with this absurd narrative that Stone is a confused old man. As "Saturday Night Live" observed, he's younger than Sting. Sure, he's not a Tantric yoga practitioner but he's hardly on death's door. Besides, cops arrest old black men all the time. A Seattle cop once busted a 70-year-old black veteran for using a golf club as a cane. He was charged with obstruction and harassment and spent the night in jail. Stone was released the day of his arrest on a $250,000 promissory bond, which means he's only out that amount if he's dumber than a Manafort and fails to comply with the terms of his release. Meanwhile, people spend months locked up because they can't afford bail. Kalief Browder somehow wound up doing three years in Ryker's on the charge of grand theft backpack. He never even had a trial.
If Graham, Collins, and other conservatives complained on Fox News nightly about the excesses of the criminal justice system for all Americans, they could rebrand it ACLU-TV. But they are only interested in the aid and comfort of their country club buddies.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).