I was initially disappointed to have been unable able to watch the attorney general confirmation hearings for Jeff Sessions today. I think of the senator from Alabama as a sort of noble anachronism: a white politician with reservations about betraying his constituents. And so with fondness due such a quaint figure, I had some romantic hopes he would navigate today’s play with his dignity still attached.
But realpolitik isn’t a harlequin novel, and the senator seems to have properly abased himself according to contemporary custom. Based solely on written reporting, a liberal could find much solace in believing Mr. Sessions has come around to a broad range of palatable opinions–even as one might remain suspicious of his true zeal. Though taking his assertions as offered, we learned that…
🚮 Allegations of racism have been painful, very very painful. Every conservative seems compelled to such feigned expressions of anguish at this empty ubiquitous accusation. It reminds me of the somber countenance of a seasoned mortician. So, so sorry for your loss. It is only ritual but, in this case, a ritual of submission.
🚮 He abhors the Klan and its hateful ideology. I suppose he’s not referring to the ideology of FBI agents in bedsheets. But Sessions owes the senate no statement on that organization. Was Holder quizzed on his abhorrence of the Black Panthers? His candid answer might have been quite revealing, if so. Yet what is the ideology Sessions abhors, racial or ethnic “supremacy?” I’d be careful with extrapolation there. If a man applies that concept too neutrally he’ll face an even more formidable adversary.
🚮 He considers abortion and something he called “gay marriage” to be the settled law of the land. I’ve heard this formulation before, and am always intrigued to ask what legislative body passed these settled laws? What president signed them into effect? If Kennedy and Ginsburg declare peace with Russia to be unconstitutional, is nuclear war then the “law of the land?” Fortunately no one else seems to be asking.
🚮 He “deeply understands the history of civil rights and the horrendous impact that relentless and systemic discrimination and the denial of voting rights has had on our African-American brothers and sisters.” You know the thing about actual horrendous relentless discrimination is that it tends to manifest first in a man’s feet. When a people are being relentlessly treated horrendously, they seek distance from their tormentors, rather than proximity. Yet segregating blacks from relentless horrendous whites was equally itself relentlessly horrendous. In fact, the most certain metric by which we know a place will be coveted by blacks is the proportion of relentless horrendousness in its population. Europe, yes; Africa, no.
🚮 He “understands the demands for justice and fairness made by our LGBT community.” I’m glad he understands them, as I certainly don’t. What specifically are those demands? More importantly, why do their demands warrant his understanding over those of people not in the “BLT community?”
🚮 He “has no belief and do not support the idea that Muslims as a religious group should be denied admission to the United States. We have great Muslim citizens who have contributed in so many ways.” Yes, so many contributions indeed. None that have actually elevated the general happiness, safety, and prosperity of receiving Americans, though technically his statement isn’t false.
None of this criticism is really intended for Sessions, who is probably as good a man as could enter Congress without collapsing into a pillar of salt. It is simply contempt for what compels conservatives in a republican majority chamber into genuflecting before a row of liberal idols. We are now advised of Session’s iron commitment to blacks, muslims, BLTs, and presumably all other cohorts who despise and oppose him, his party, his people, and his culture. Anything he’d like to say in support of those who do not?
But that wasn’t the purpose of today’s production. It was instead a modern Anglo Saxon oath of fealty. I will to my enemies be true and faithful. And love all which they love and shun all which they shun. The senator is canny enough to know he’s only there for this display, with the real and much different work awaiting far beyond the flashbulbs.
But suffering that display is quite enough. I’m glad old Cato isn’t around to hear our calls of Carthage must be obeyed!