Graham’s clown act during hearing wasn’t just an act. He meant it.

So many people were better people before 2016. Lindsey Graham is one of our country’s more dramatic and tragic examples.

Especially with regard to judicial confirmations. Before Donald Trump and his supports assumed total control of the Republican Party, our senior senator was one of the few senators of either party who could be relied upon to support qualified candidates nominated by presidents of the opposite party.

It was what he was known for. He was more likely than anyone to say “elections have consequences” and vote to confirm, say, Elena Kagan or Sonia Sotomayor.

Although he let his country down, bigtime, in failing to fight his leadership over Merrick Garland, the fact is that he stood out among senators in supporting the Democratic nominees he did support.

For years — including before Trumpism — Graham has walked a tightrope as a Republican from South Carolina. He took brave stands on court nominations and immigration, while at the same time trying to signal that he could be as big a yahoo as anybody. Sometimes, the attacks on “Grahamnesty” caused him to back down, but he was known for the times he stood his ground as one of the Gang of 14.

That fell apart when he decided that his political path forward involved developing a national reputation as Trump’s best buddy and most loyal toady. But he would still occasionally take a stand against the insanity, such as when Trump betrayed our allies in Syria.

So when he did something like trying to be the biggest, loudest clown in the room in giving Ketanji Brown Jackson a hard time during the recent hearings, I would wonder how much of it was just an act to give himself cover before quietly acting like Lindsey Graham and voting for her — since there was no legitimate reason not to.

But today we found out he didn’t have the guts to do that:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Thursday that he will oppose Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court, marking the first time the GOP senator will vote against a nominee for the high court since joining the Senate.

“I will oppose her and I will vote no,” Graham said from the Senate floor.

So the madness that has gripped our country just took another step deeper into the abyss…

54 thoughts on “Graham’s clown act during hearing wasn’t just an act. He meant it.

  1. Barry

    In fairness, if I were Jackson, I wouldn’t want Lindsey Graham’s vote or support.

    She is better off without it.

    Reply
  2. bud

    Just to play the devils advocate. Maybe Lindsey is acting according to conscience and just doesn’t like Brown-Jackson. After all he supported Ms. Childs. Not sure Lindsey has really changed all that much or that he’s always been a jerk. I’ve never liked the man so perhaps I’m not the best judge of this. My point not everything has to fit with this tribal thing.

    Reply
  3. Bill

    —10.11.20—Responds to LGBTQ voter asking about how his marriage to his husband and other LGBTQ rights will be defended, Sen. Graham defends people opposed to marriage equality as “not bigots” and “not neanderthals” and tells the voter, “I’ve tried to be tolerant.”

    —10.12.20—Opens hastened confirmation hearings of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court with active COVID-19 infections among Judiciary Committee members. Chairman Graham refuses to take a COVID-19 test to ensure the safety of a debate with his challenger or the safety of the confirmation hearings. Sen. Graham had pledged in 2016 that Supreme Court nominations should not be made in an election year. Millions of Americans are early voting in the 2020 election, and polls show Americans want the winner of the 2020 election to nominate the next Supreme Court justice. Chairman Graham asks Barrett how landmark rulings like Obergefell could be overturned.

    —10.14.20—In day three of the Barrett hearings, attempts to link the Court’s landmark marriage equality ruling to legalizing polygamy. Chairman Graham had also attempted this question and linkage in 2015.

    —06.03.20—Signs brief to U.S. Supreme Court to defend taxpayer-funded agency’s right to discriminate against qualified same-sex couples looking to become foster parents, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia.

    —03.15.19—Graham did not return a reporter’s request for comment regarding whether he, as head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, would allow consideration of the Equality Act, offering LGBTQ people protection against discrimination in areas like public accommodations, employment, housing, and credit.

    —06.17.15—Co-sponsored the First Amendment Defense Act, which seeks to create an exemption to nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people by those citing a religious-based objection to marriage equality.

    —01.28.15—While questioning Loretta Lynch during her attorney general nomination hearing, Graham compared same-sex marriage to polygamy. “What legal rationale would be in play that would prohibit polygamy?” he asked. “Could you try to articulate how one could be banned under the Constitution and the other not?”

    —06.26.15—Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, Graham released a statement calling himself “a proud defender of traditional marriage” and stressing his support for “religious liberty.”

    —01.29.13—Graham opposed adding same-sex couple protections to an immigration reform bill, saying it would cause bipartisan talks to fall apart.

    —11.07.13—Graham voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would have prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

    —06.26.13—When the Supreme Court ruled against DOMA, Graham expressed his disappointment in the decision, saying in a statement that he believed in “traditional marriage,” and noting he voted for the law, as well as wrote a brief to the Court expressing his desire to see it upheld. “One key point, today’s Supreme Court ruling will not change South Carolina law and I will continue to fight for and defend the traditional definition of marriage,” he added.

    —12.18.10—Voted against allowing gay and bisexual people to openly serve in the military by opposing the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The Senate voted in favor of the repeal, with eight of Graham’s Republican colleagues voting to repeal the discriminatory policy.

    —05.18.06—Voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution, and released a statement expressing his support of the legislation, claiming it was needed because, as he put it, “Traditional marriage is now under attack.”

    —09.13.00—argued against federal hate crime legislation, saying it was not needed and that it would “divide Americans.”

    —07.29.99—Voted in favor of an amendment to prohibit same-sex couples from adopting in Washington, D.C

    —05.14.96—Graham co-sponsored the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), defining marriage as between a man and a woman, which was signed into law in 1996.

    Reply
    1. Barry

      Oh, there is no doubt there are a large number of Republicans in the House and Senate that would seek to overturn the gay marriage ruling.

      Alito and Thomas also suggested it.

      Not even counting their desire to get rid of federal protections for interracial marriage. I wonder how Thomas feels about that?

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Of course, there is zero connection between those two issues — unless you believe in the absurd notion of intersectionality.

        One good thing I’ll say about intersectionality, though — I was glad when someone came up with a word for it. Or rather, when I first learned the word (it had actually been coined in 1989). I had been observing the phenomenon for a number of years and shaking my head at the irrationality of it, but didn’t have a name for it.

        Or perhaps “irrationality” is the wrong word. The concept has a practical reason for being, and one that is immediately obvious — it’s a way for people who don’t hold a majority viewpoint to tie their cause to other groups with minority viewpoints, until they assemble a majority. Or at least a plurality with enough weight for the various groups to collectively achieve their goals.

        But hey, if I’d wanted to write a post about it, I’d have done so by now. I rail against Identity Politics, of course, and this is a subset of that…

        Reply
        1. Barry

          Well, there is a clear connection

          The belief by a few justices that such issues should be left to individual states- so a marriage in one state doesn’t have to be recognized in another state- which of course creates all sorts of problems for couples.

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Well, yes. Marriage has always been a state matter. There’s nothing controversial about that, unless you just want the federal government to regulate everything.

            But of course, having typed that, I just realize that many people do. Perhaps even a clear majority, given that most people can’t name their state legislators….

            Reply
            1. Barry

              So couples that live in Indian Land and are married but own a business and work across the border don’t have their marriages recognized because they just happen to be an interracial couple or gay?

              There are things I don’t want the federal government to regulate, but a person’s humanity is one I do want them to recognize.

              Reply
              1. Barry

                That, of course, doesn’t mean a church has to perform the marriage, or recognize it within the church itself.

                I would like them to be consistent though on the issue – especially as it relates to divorce, etc.

                Reply
              2. Ken

                The Equal Protection Clause took care of that matter. And in that sense, it IS regulated at the federal level.

                Reply
        2. Ken

          Since “identity politics” is such a bugaboo for you, perhaps you would grace us with a treatise (a.k.a. blog post) on the topic. Please define it, explaining what exactly it involves (providing examples of how it operates in real-world politics). And also which groups you believe are practicing it and how – again, supplying specific examples. Since it bothers you so much, you must have plenty of illustrations showing how it operates. So many people talk about identity politics without ever saying exactly what they mean by it.

          Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              I enjoyed glancing over some of those old posts. Here’s one that actually had the phrase in the headline:

              https://bradwarthen.com/2010/11/by-the-way-sisters-women-didnt-go-for-haley/

              Of course, national media haven’t stopped yet with the gushing over Nikki because of her ethnicity or gender. Not entirely. And when it comes up, it’s still tiresome. Why? Because it’s utterly irrelevant to, say, her suitability for this or that position…

              Reply
              1. Ken

                Gushing?
                That’s more an expression of your over-sensitivity on matters of identity than an accurate description of her reception in the media. Yes, she’s gotten off light in terms of critical media scrutiny. But that’s a reflection of her relative lack of weight on the national stage rather than her ethnicity.

                Reply
                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Well, that’s an interesting way of reading all the gushing I’ve seen. Such as her making the cover of Newsweek twice in 2010. (She had to wait until 2017 to make the cover of TIME, poor thing. But at least by then, she had gotten the flag down — for which I will always give her credit.)

                  Explain to me what characteristics she possessed — other that gender and ethnic identity — that warranted that attention. I had known her fairly well for quite a few years (and endorsed her for the House a couple of times — although she was something of a blank slate at the point, that was better than her opposition), and was not aware of any.

                  And yes, the word is “gushing.” “THE FACE OF THE NEW SOUTH?” “WOMEN WHO ARE CHANGING THE WORLD,” also in all caps? If that’s not gushing, perhaps you can provide us with some examples and enlighten me. The cover of The Rolling Stone, perhaps?

                  Reply
                  1. Ken

                    Oh my goodness. One of FOUR faces on the first cover (one of whom I don’t recognize). And in the other case, she’s one of a list of 14 on the cover and 32 others inside that includes such luminaries as Selena Gomez and Issa Rae. Maybe you would’ve preferred one of them. Haley had, after all, become UN Amb that year and was indeed the first Indian-American governor — both worthy of note. I’m no fan of hers, but I don’t see this as excessive attention or praise. That takes words, not just pictures.

                    Reply
            2. Ken

              Ok, now I’ve had time to wade through those golden oldies.
              So here are a few odds and ends in reaction to those odds and ends:

              Your June 4, 2012 post suggests that you elevate your own anecdotal experience above empirical evidence. Much in these posts follows from that.

              In your June 4, 2012 post you complain that the parties were looking to demographics rather than the “good of the country” to find voters. Well, they’d be foolish not to, given the importance of demographics and demographic shifts in the population. But demographics cover a broad range of measures, not just race or sex or ethnicity. Romney’s 47% comment was also aimed at a demographic — at a different kind of “deplorable,” trimmed to fit Republican biases. You seem to believe in a mythical time when “the good of the country” was foremost in everyone’s mind, when no particular interests were in play. Sorry, but that wasn’t the case when you were tyke, and not when your forefathers were tykes, either.

              Then there’s your warped reading of Malcolm X’s comment about Black “firsts.” He wouldn’t have concurred with your reading of him – or with your take on the state of racial progress in 2017. The assumption that the election of the first Black president settled that matter for all time was, at best, short-sighted then and ludicrous now.

              The same applies to the lumping together, in the Fukayama excerpt from 2018, of Osama bin Laden, Putin and Isis with BLM, gay marriage and #MeToo, the suggestion being that they all emerged from the same nasty swamp – a reckless rhetorical lumping together you embrace (where you “perceive rightness in those few words”). Drawing attention to genuine social ills is dismissed as a social evil, blood brother to tyranny, and belittled it as unimportant compared to what you think important.

              And this leads to your consistent annoyance any time a woman or Black person is recognized for achievements while being a woman or black. (And just by the way, Black folks’ preferred Poitier was the one who appeared in films like Uptown Saturday Night (which he had complete creative control over), where he didn’t have to play White folks’ favorite Black man, delivering object lessons to Whites that Black folk didn’t need to be told about.) It’s as if women achieving things or Blacks achieving things (or gays or Muslims, etc.) is not only nothing to celebrate but something distasteful. To me, by contrast, it seems altogether fitting when individuals in these groups are recognized both for what they’ve accomplished as well as who they are, especially when who they are has kept them or those like them from attaining those accomplishments in the past.

              And that’s about all I can do with this, since, taken together, this collection of posts doesn’t actually present an argument. Instead, it’s just a (repetitive re-)statement of attitude.

              Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            No, actually it didn’t. Civil rights was about emphasizing our common humanity and treating everyone equally. Identity Politics is about Making Way Too Big a Deal over our differences.

            Civil Rights was about integration. Identity Politics is about — let’s pick on the press here — The Washington Post deciding to capitalize “Black” and “White” in descriptions of people, as though the color of their skin is the most important thing about them.

            An advocate of Civil Rights would find that a little creepy. I certainly do, especially when you capitalize “White.” As though being white made you special or something…

            Reply
            1. Ken

              The Post didn’t decide on these capitalization conventions. I’ve pointed this out before, but it seems you’ve forgotten: they are part of the APA style guide. Nothing controversial here. It’s just plain proper style.

              Reply
            2. Ken

              And as for the other, some people may disqualify “Black is beautiful” from participation in the Civil Rights movement. But this South Carolinian knew different:

              Reply
            3. Ken

              An op-ed by the late William Raspberry from the early 90s that I recently ran across may also interest you in this regard. The piece is mainly about the shift from “Black” to “African-American” happening at that time. But he also writes this:

              “It has long bothered me that in lists of ethnic minorities, black is the only one that (in most American newspapers) is spelled in lower case, as in: ‘The survey included Hispanics, Asian Americans, American Indians and blacks.’
              A fair number of people I know believe the lower-casing of ‘black’ is a deliberate racial put-down. The truth, of course, is that until the emergence of the ‘black pride’ movement of the 1960s, we were Negroes, nicely capitalized, while ‘white’ was spelled with a small ‘w.’ When newspapers, at our insistence, made the shift from Negro to black, we lost the capitalization in favor of consistency. Not Black and white, but black and white. A style change to Black and White would solve my problem.”

              Reply
  4. Barry

    House Democrats passed a marijuana legalization bill this week opposed by all but 3 Conservatives in the House.

    The bill would not force states to legalize marijuana but would allow any for protections for banks, accounting firms, and insurance companies to provide services without concern to legal marijuana businesses and associated state approved transactions.

    Senate Republicans do not seem willing to go along with Senate Democrats and pass the bill so it will likely die in the Senate.

    Nany Mace, who has argued for decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level VOTED AGAINST THE BILL with most Republicans and then she intentionally misrepresented the bill saying it would force states to legalize marijuana when it specifically WOULD NOT do so. She is counting on folks in her district not knowing that though.

    She just couldn’t be honest about it. Par for the course for her in many ways.

    Reply
  5. Barry

    BTW- The South Carolina version of the medical legalization bill (which is way too strict in my view) is still stuck in the GOP controlled House of Representatives being slow walked by Conservatives- and Religious Conservatives.

    House Democrats would have passed it weeks and weeks ago.

    Reply
  6. Bart

    On the subject that is not the subject of the thread, I totally support legalization of medical marijuana. Of course some will take advantage of the legalization just as they do with so many other legal drugs. A friend of mine in Florida was diagnosed with severe COPD and his doctors told him he had about 4 to 6 months to live. He sat down in his recliner and waited to die. His wife would have none of it and tried essential oils until she flew to Colorado where they have a small ranch and returned several days later. She asked him to trust her and try this new liquid medication without question. He did and drifted off to sleep. When he woke up, she asked him how long he thought he had been sleeping. He replied, about 1 hour, maybe 2. She informed him he had been sleeping for over 8 hours.

    The irony is that he was a former judge and had sentenced over 300 people to jail or prison time for possession or distribution of marijuana. After getting over his brief anger, he decided to continue taking the medical marijuana drops. In less than 6 months when he went back for a checkup, his doctor informed him he was symptom free of COPD. Today, he is back to his old self, teaching CE courses, and advocating for the legalization of medical marijuana. He has been successful in a few states.

    He is back to playing gold, hiking, camping, jogging, exercising, and engaging in intellectual pursuits the way he did before his COPD diagnosis. He is still symptom free and continues to take a dropper of medical marijuana every day.

    My mom would have been spared months and months of pain from her cancer along with my brother and other family members. There is simply no need for anyone to object to the use of a natural homeopathic treatment that works and works well. Even the CBD oil from the hemp plant that contains about .3% of THC works wonders for many patients. My dentist’s mother was only at 25% use of her body when she started taking a high quality CBD oil with a trace of THC and within 6 weeks, she was back to 75% use. Haven’t checked with him recently but just think about the improvement at the end of 6 weeks.

    I don’t agree with much of anything some on this blog supports but on this one, I am in full support. Ignoring something that can relieve pain, nausea, and suffering for patients and is a natural occurring product should never be illegal. I will say I don’t agree with the recreational use of marijuana because I know it can cause COPD as well as treat it. A close relative used it daily for years and finally ended up with severe COPD and now uses an inhaler several times a day just to breathe.

    Reply
      1. Bill

        Every year along about this time it all goes dry
        There’s nothing round for love or money
        That’ll get you high
        Henry got pissed off and said he’d run to Mexico
        To see if he could come back holdin’
        Twenty keys of gold

        Reply
  7. bud

    Medicinal Marijuana really is the easiest of all issues for all political persuasions to agree on. So why can’t we get there in this backwards state? This should be the number 1 state government issue. And by the way why hasn’t the federal government made it fully legal?

    Reply
        1. bud

          It was me. Maybe I typed in the wrong email. I was actually agreeing with Bart. He made a strong argument. The anti marijuana folks have yet to give a coherent argument against medicinal marijuana.

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Um… I just approved that comment for the second time. I had to do the same with one by Barry.

            I think the problem is at my end — my wifi keeps randomly disconnecting — but email me if you have any problems…

            Reply
          2. Bart

            Thanks bud. Just to let you know, when you agree with me, personally, it means something. You are the one liberal on this blog I have tremendous respect for because you are an honest liberal. Nothing more needs to be said.

            After deciding to stay out of the politics and other topics on this blog, this one is personal enough to be actively engaged and start lobbying our representatives in Columbia to step forward and do the right thing.

            Unless the anti-marijuana contingent can produce a coherent argument without invoking a couple of anecdotes as an argument, allowing the narrow minded few to stop the pain and suffering for so many is inexcusable. Wonder if some of the same folks believe the flu shot is ineffective or the Salk vaccine didn’t rid us of polio and other major medical developments benefiting humanity over the past century or two?

            Medical marijuana is not a gateway drug that leads to use of cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, or any other inhaled or digestive harmful drug.

            Reply
  8. Barry

    Saw tonight that there is an effort in Tennessee by Conservative Republicans to get rid of the age requirements for marriage in the state.

    The effort has passed one Republican dominated committee. Democrats opposed the measure.

    Apparently, the intention is to let older men marry young girls- or children.

    This follows on the heels of an effort in 2018 where Republicans killed an effort by Democrats to ban child marriage in the state.

    Also making news today is Republican Congressman John Rose. When Rose was 43, he met an 18 year old high school student, an FFA member at an event promoting agriculture in the state.

    Rose “mentored and counseled” (her words) the high school student and she soon found herself the recipient of a college scholarship that was named in memory of his parents.

    Sounds a lot like the “grooming” Republicans this week have been talking about so much- except they aren’t pointing any fingers at themselves- just teachers in Florida.

    Hypocrites.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Aw, next you’re going to start criticizing Jerry Lee for marrying his 13-year-old cousin. Of course, he claimed she was 15. Great balls of fire…

      Speaking of which, you know that in South Carolina (and in Tennessee), you can marry your first cousin, legally. I ran across that fact recently — I think I was trying to sort out a question in working on my family tree — and was quite surprised.

      Turns out, marriage between first cousins is legal in 19 states…

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Oh, and no, it wasn’t any of my direct ancestors I was looking up.

        But I did find one rather startling anecdote among some other relatives.

        There were these three sisters born in South Carolina at the end of the 18th century. They were my great-great-great-great aunts. Their maiden name was Hearst. Yes, those Hearsts. As I think I’ve mentioned before, Patty is my fifth cousin once removed.

        These three sisters married three men named Pressly (and yes, it was sometimes spelled different ways, but I’ve never found a connection to Elvis) who were brothers.

        Not that big a deal. That part of South Carolina was thinly settled at the time, so it’s not unusual to find sisters who married brothers — although three marrying three stands out a bit.

        Those three brothers, however, were the first cousins of the three sisters. Now THAT’S unusual, I believe…

        Which means I’m also related to the three brothers. They were… hold on… the sons of a brother of my great-great-great-great grandfather. No, I don’t know what kind of cousin that makes them, because I get confused. But I think it’s something like first cousin umpteen times removed.

        Ancestry gets even more confused. It just calls each of the three brothers, “husband of 3rd great-grandaunt.” It doesn’t recognize that I’m related to the guys, too. Perhaps the algorithm thinks it best just to not mention that…

        Reply
    2. Bart

      “”Also making news today is Republican Congressman John Rose. When Rose was 43, he met an 18 year old high school student, an FFA member at an event promoting agriculture in the state.

      Rose “mentored and counseled” (her words) the high school student and she soon found herself the recipient of a college scholarship that was named in memory of his parents.

      Sounds a lot like the “grooming” Republicans this week have been talking about so much- except they aren’t pointing any fingers at themselves- just teachers in Florida.

      Hypocrites.””

      You insinuated there was an inappropriate relationship without making a direct accusation. Was there an accusation by the young girl, her parents, or anyone else? If so, was there an investigation into the accusation and what were the findings? Or was it innocent and the “mentoring and counseling” just what she said it was and nothing more? I couldn’t find anything after doing a search about it. Where is your proof to support your indirect allegation of an inappropriate relationship between the two?

      As for the other insinuation about “grooming” Republicans and an attempt to paint them with your usual broad brush accusations, the two topics are not the same. I too object to teaching children in kindergarten and up to the 2nd or 3rd grade about sex, sexual orientation, and transgender choices. They are too “damn” young to even come close to understanding and are too easily swayed by an authority figure like a teacher. Hell, I object to teaching it in any public or private school at any age or grade level.

      As for the “Hypocrites” label, maybe you need to check the record of your ultra-clean Democrats who can do no wrong. They have blocked legislation punishing child porn purveyors every time it has been presented in Congress. Yet Democrats make a great amount of noise about “family” and protecting the family structure, especially children. Think maybe there is hypocrisy on both sides?

      Reply
      1. Barry

        Bart wrote “You insinuated there was an inappropriate relationship without making a direct accusation. Was there an accusation by the young girl, her parents, or anyone else? If so, was there an investigation into the accusation and what were the findings? ”

        Let me correct you. I made a direct accusation- Republican John Rose was in his 40s and met a high schooler at her high school and then married her. Her words were he counseled and mentored her. Then he married her. That’s grooming regardless of what you are anyone else thinks about it.

        But, who needs a direct accusation by the girl?

        Florida just enacted a law without pointing to any teachers in Florida that are teaching sex to minor children without punishment. Were you complaining about the lack of direct accusations there? Of course you weren’t.

        I paint anyone with broad brush accusations when they are engaged in the same thing. The fact that you refuse to call out your own side and ignore it, does not mean I won’t.

        Which child porn legislation are Democrats refusing to pass? Please be specific so I can look into it and examine it for myself to see if you are being honest, or just making something up.

        Reply
        1. Bart

          Child grooming
          Child grooming is befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a child, and sometimes the family, to lower the child’s inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse. Child grooming is also regularly used to lure minors into various illicit businesses such as child trafficking, child prostitution, cybersex trafficking, or the production of child pornography.

          Thought it might be worthwhile to provide the definition of “grooming” to you and anyone on the left or right.

          As for Rose and his wife, from what information available, they are still married and have two children. No mention that he has been using her for pornography, prostitution, or any other aspect of child grooming. But, considering your penchant to think and believe the absolute worse about anyone who is conservative or a Republican, it wouldn’t surprise me if you are convinced Rose has her engaged in all illicit acts mentioned in the definition of “child grooming”.

          Perhaps you believe that Macron’s wife “groomed” him since the differences in their ages can be expressed in “decades”. Of course, it is only 25 years, but 25 years is quite a difference.

          Over the years, I have met several couples with large age differences and for the most part, they are happily married. It is not for me but at the same time, it is not for me to judge unless sex slavery, etc. has been accused and proven.

          “I paint anyone with broad brush accusations when they are engaged in the same thing. The fact that you refuse to call out your own side and ignore it, does not mean I won’t.”

          Therein lies the problem with individuals who are so certain, only they are right on every topic, subject, or issue and “paint” those who disagree with broad brush accusations of misdeeds and every heinous act against humanity.

          And you are wrong and are making a false accusation against me when you say, “The fact that you refuse to call out your own side and ignore it, does not mean I won’t.” You don’t know me on a personal level and just to be candid, for that small blessing, I am very thankful. I speak as someone who was targeted and groomed by an older boy when I was very young so therefore, when individuals like you make an accusation like you did against me, I fight back. I know what it is on a personal level, do you?

          As for providing you with any information about Democrats not supporting some child porn legislation, I really don’t care if you believe I am being honest or not. Your opinion of me has no standing or meaning whatsoever.

          Reply
          1. Barry

            “Thought it might be worthwhile to provide the definition of “grooming” to you and anyone on the left or right.”

            – The LEFT is not the current party making “grooming” a political issue. Right wing radio and tv is talking about this constantly. Fox News had a man on this weekend who accused teachers- and male teachers of pedophilia. He made no distinctions.

            Apparently hurling grooming accusations at whatever makes the most sense politically is fair game now for the right wing. So expect the other side to fight back.

            “I speak as someone who was targeted and groomed by an older boy when I was very young so therefore, when individuals like you make an accusation like you did against me, I fight back. I know what it is on a personal level, do you?”

            – I had 2 occasions as a teenager. One man, in his 20s, at my church spent 2 months getting to be my friend at church. He asked me to help him at our small church be an usher. I did. He would talk personally to me and while we were not “friends” he did portray himself as someone that could look out for me. Once, when I was in 7th or 8th grade, he came to my house and asked my mom and dad if I could go away with him for the weekend where we could ride horses and go camping. Heck, it sounded fun to me. My parents sat me down and talked to me about it and explained what was going on.

            On another occasion, I was sitting in my mom’s car as she bought groceries and a man came over to the car window and started asking me questions and chatting. He was getting a bit friendly wanting to touch my arms and asked me to get out of the car. I didn’t because I was confused. At the same time, my mom walked out of the store and he walked off. My mom actually told me she recognized him and all she ever said was that he had some problems. Later, I realized what that meant.

            It’s ok if you don’t care if I believe you are not. That’s fine. The feeling is 100% mutual. I simply asked you to provide the evidence of this legislation that democrats are not supporting that Republicans want to pass with regards to child pornography so I can read it myself and judge for myself since – as you admitted- I don’t know you. Your implication is that Democrats support child porn so the least you could do is prove it. (odd accusation coming from someone in a party that supported Donald Trump who walked through the Miss Teen pageant locker room while girls were changing clothes).

            It would be foolish of me to take your word for it. But you brought it up so it’s fair to ask you to provide evidence so someone like me can read it myself instead of taking someone’s word for it that approaches things from a right wing perspective.

            If you can’t or don’t. That’s an answer in and of itself.

            Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Y’all do go on and on about this, don’t you?

              And I think it’s time that I make a confession: Sometimes, when a debate gets this long and involved, and the long replies keep coming, I don’t read the whole thing before clicking “approve.”

              I take a chance when I do that, because at this point in a long debate, things can get heated, and occasionally personal. Which means a violation of the civility policy. This gets me into a situation in which, some days later, I delete Reader A’s comment because of an ad hominem remark, and then Reader A complains that I allowed Reader B to do the same thing recently, and it’s a pain to sort out, if it gets sorted out at all…

              But come on, people — life must go on, right? I find it hard to find ANY time to spend on the blog these days, so at some times, I just need to move on, hoping everybody will be grownups and address each other politely.

              Anyway…

              As for this particular discussion…

              Yes, I acknowledge that “grooming” kids for the sake of abusing them sexually is an important issue, I only have so much patience when it gets to be about left vs. right.

              As a grandfather, I care greatly about protecting the kids. But I don’t think voting Republican makes them more protected than voting Democratic, or vice versa.

              Of course, maybe y’all aren’t saying anything like that. I don’t know. Because I haven’t read the last couple of comments in their entirety. If that’s not what you’re saying, then I apologize. But right now, having digressed to the extent that I’ve written my own long comment that people won’t read to the end (which I realize I do a lot, probably more than anyone), I need to get back to work…

              Reply
  9. Ken

    “They are too ‘damn’ young to even come close to understanding and are too easily swayed by an authority figure like a teacher. Hell, I object to teaching it in any public or private school at any age or grade level.”

    Maybe fellow conservative Michael Gerson can help out here:

    “…the world of sexuality and gender among young people has changed with the speed of a TikTok video. Many children have friends who consider themselves trans or nonbinary. Students are likely to have early encounters with families that have two moms or two dads. In these circumstances, curiosity is a given, and silence is not a serious option. Encountering actual people rather than abstract controversies makes claims on our tolerance, understanding and kindness. These values must be taught by someone.

    The Florida strategy — coming soon to a red state near you — seems to assume that the age-appropriate discussion of sexuality amounts to the encouragement of sexual experimentation. And the gratuitous charge of grooming seems intended to feed durable but false stereotypes of gay predation. Neither of these accusations has roots in reality or addresses the very real harm of child sexual exploitation.”

    Reply
    1. Barry

      Maybe Bart can respond.

      This is garbage- all of it.

      I am waiting for the 1st conservative to point to a teacher in Florida who was teaching sex to minor children with no punishment. I guess I’ll keep waiting.

      The reality is right wing Republicans think gay people are being trained in public schools to be gay. They think people that are trans are being taught to be trans by teachers in public schools. In other words, they have lost their minds.

      It is why my wife is quitting teaching this year. After 11 years in public school (12 in private) she’s getting out – along with dozens of others are her current school. The accusations they are facing this year is just so over the top, I told her to quit and get out and she took me up on it.

      Reply
  10. Bart

    “Maybe fellow conservative Michael Gerson can help out here:”

    Oh, you are speaking about the Michael Gerson, opinion columnist for the Washington Post. A “token” quasi-conservative voice that more often than not, reflects the social and political position of the newspaper. Seldom being a true conservative.

    As for the influence of TikTok videos on young children, at least it is something voluntarily viewed, not part of a classroom curricular that oversteps the parent’s authority and rights when it comes to their children.

    “Many children have friends who consider themselves trans or nonbinary. Students are likely to have early encounters with families that have two moms or two dads. In these circumstances, curiosity is a given, and silence is not a serious option.”

    If a child is curious about a friend considering themselves trans or nonbinary, then the child should ask the friend why they consider themselves either one. Not a subject for classroom instruction by teachers. As for two moms or dads, again, if the child is curious, then the teacher should instruct them to ask their parents, the child with two moms or dads, or the moms or dads. Again, not a subject for classroom instruction by teachers.

    If they are going to address the issue of two moms or dads, then by reason, they should also instruct the class that in neither situation are the parents capable of producing a child as a couple other than adoption or surrogacy since a male cannot impregnate another male nor can a female impregnate another female. Basic, simple truth and biological fact that has been true since the beginning of humans on this earth. Otherwise, it is nothing more than a social, human construct with no basis in reality on any level.

    If a friend is curious, then let them ask the friend who considers themselves trans or nonbinary the why. Conversely, if the school board and teachers insist on teaching the subject, then they should be very clear that the human body is either female or male at birth and no amount of surgery or identifying as the opposite sex will change what nature created and remains true today and until the end of time.

    No social claim of being a female when one is born a male with all of the appendages can change the DNA or biological reality of the sex one is born with. The same is true for females. Again, if a friend wants to identify as the opposite biological sex, that is a social construct, not based in reality, only in the mind of the alphabet identifying individual.

    In reality, when dollars are allocated to the public school systems, they are paid by both supporters and opponents of the nature of sex education and other social issues. Therefore, by forcing the teaching of young, impressionable children about same sex parents and sex identity, the schools should take a neutral approach and let parents be the ones to instruct their children in topics that are not the business of school boards and teachers.

    As for Gerson and any instruction from him, “No thanks, not interested.” Gerson is not a “fellow conservative”.

    Reply
    1. Barry

      There is nothing- NADA – zilch – wrong with a child having 2 same sex parents- just as there is nothing wrong with having 2 opposite sex parents.

      “not teaching” about same sex parents as opposed to discussing having 2 opposite sex parents implies there is something wrong with 2 same sex parents. The role of the government isn’t to distinguish between the two as if one is acceptable and one isn’t. Same sex parents have all the legal rights and responsibilities as anyone else. To not be able to mention them implies there is something bad or wrong with them.

      Parents are free to teach whatever they wish in their own homes. But the school should isn’t the place to be implying that there is something wrong with same sex parents because there isn’t under the law.

      Then no more discussions allowed from teachers about husbands or wives? No family photos (children don’t need to know about their teacher being married because that reveals sexual orientation – which is no one’s business and children don’t need to be thinking of such things?

      A ban of “sexual orientation” also includes heterosexual couples, right? I mean there is no other possibility. If you can’t discuss it, you can’t discuss it at all- NO DISCUSSION. That includes it all.

      Calling a teacher “Mr” or “Mrs” should also be a thing of the past. Words implying gender can lead to gender based discussions and are no longer allowed.

      Books referring to “mothers” and “fathers” should also be off-limits because those imply gender identities and gender identities should not be a basis for discussion.

      Reply
    2. Barry

      On Fox News this weekend from a guest- David Mamet. (If you don’t know who he is- he got a nice big write up in The Wall Street Journal last week)

      “We have kids (in school) being not only indoctrinated but groomed in a very real sense by people who are — whether they know it or not — sexual predators” ….Teachers are inclined, particularly men because men are predators” to pedophilia”

      (Mamet’s own mom was a teacher, but no word on if he felt she was a sexual predator)

      No pushback at all from the host on Fox who only amplified his statement.

      That type of talk is being broadcast to millions of homes- and the audience is largely already predisposed to not like public education because of the decades long attempts to malign teachers, especially from the right.

      No wonder teachers are accused of all sorts of terrible things by a portion of our society now.

      Recently, the very same David Mamet was on HBO discussing his book where he said the January 6th attack was carried out by “leftists.” When confronted with this on HBO, he said ignore that part of his book.

      That’s the type of guy Fox News wants to highlight by giving him even more time to talk. Ok.

      Reply
  11. Ken

    I am genuinely sorry to hear that. In particular given South Carolina’s problem with recruiting and, especially, retaining teachers. A cousin’s wife experienced it first hand. She had acquired nearly a decade of teaching experience in Florida, where she said the situation could be difficult at times. But when they moved to South Carolina the difficulties only increased so that after a year she quit and has moved on to another field.

    Reply
    1. Barry

      Don’t be.

      She’s actually excited about leaving the classroom at this point. She’s done her 11 years in public school and it’s time to move to a real job – one that at least carries some minimum level of respect. A teaching job in South Carolina carries no respect from parents or politicians.

      and with the rightward shift in education demands from right wing politicians, it’s only getting more difficult.

      I think it’s easier for her this year because so many of her coworkers are also leaving in 6 weeks. Her entire grade level team is quitting together – they just haven’t announced it yet because contracts for next year haven’t been handed out yet. But my wife is spending this week- spring break- interviewing for other jobs. In fact, as I type this she’s talking to a company right now about an interview.

      This year’s classroom exodus is going to be staggering. There will be a lot of kids next year with teachers that aren’t certified.

      Reply

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