High school teacher Carl Rosin, whose Great Expectations class interviewed me by telephone yesterday, suggested that Donald Trump’s national shutdown is giving us our own versions of Dickens’s “toadies and humbugs.” For a while I’ve seen Vice President Michael Pence as candidate #1, but I must say that South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is quickly rising in the ranks, especially with his extraordinary recommendation that Trump buck the Constitution to get his way.
As CNN reports, the latest example is Graham
calling for President Donald Trump to invoke national emergency powers to fund his border wall.
“Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi’s refusal to negotiate on funding for a border wall/barrier — even if the government were to be reopened — virtually ends the congressional path to funding for a border wall/barrier,” Graham said in a statement. “It is time for President Trump to use emergency powers to fund the construction of a border wall/barrier.”
Let’s be very clear about this: there is no emergency that involves immigrants swarming over the border and, even if there were, the wall would not address it. The only emergency is that Trump faces disenchantment from his rightwing supporters if he doesn’t build it. In other words, not the country but Trump’s Republican Party is facing an emergency, as Graham all but admitted to Fox’s Sean Hannity the other day:
“If he gives in now, that’s the end of 2019, in terms of him being an effective president,” Graham said.
“That’s probably the end of his presidency,” he added.
In short, Graham is putting his party over the Constitution.
Dickens’s toadies and hypocrites aren’t guilty of crimes of state but they are similarly distasteful. They grovel before the decaying Miss Havisham hoping to inherit her wealth, which leads to such Graham-like scenes as the following:
“Dear Miss Havisham,” said Miss Sarah Pocket. “How well you look!”
“I do not,” returned Miss Havisham. “I am yellow skin and bone.”
Camilla brightened when Miss Pocket met with this rebuff; and she murmured, as she plaintively contemplated Miss Havisham, “Poor dear soul! Certainly not to be expected to look well, poor thing. The idea!”
“And how are you?” said Miss Havisham to Camilla…
“Thank you, Miss Havisham,” she returned, “I am as well as can be expected.”
“Why, what’s the matter with you?” asked Miss Havisham, with exceeding sharpness.
“Nothing worth mentioning,” replied Camilla. “I don’t wish to make a display of my feelings, but I have habitually thought of you more in the night than I am quite equal to.”
“Then don’t think of me,” retorted Miss Havisham.
“Very easily said!” remarked Camilla, amiably repressing a sob, while a hitch came into her upper lip, and her tears overflowed. “Raymond is a witness what ginger and sal volatile I am obliged to take in the night. Raymond is a witness what nervous jerkings I have in my legs. Chokings and nervous jerkings, however, are nothing new to me when I think with anxiety of those I love. If I could be less affectionate and sensitive, I should have a better digestion and an iron set of nerves. I am sure I wish it could be so. But as to not thinking of you in the night—The idea!” Here, a burst of tears.
MNBC National Affairs analyst John Heilemann said the other day that threatening to declare national emergencies over policy differences is something that only autocrats do, and I still can’t get over how Republicans are letting Trump get away with it. They appear to love Big Brother.
Pip describes the kind of collective mentality that takes over in such situations:
Before I had been standing at the window five minutes, they somehow conveyed to me that they were all toadies and humbugs, but that each of them pretended not to know that the others were toadies and humbugs: because the admission that he or she did know it, would have made him or her out to be a toady and humbug.
Sooner or later, they will all discover that Trump will not reward them for their behavior any more than Miss Havisham does.