For Christians, we are currently in Lent, the holiest of our seasons which culminates in the solemnness turned celebration of Easter Weekend. It is convention during this period for Christians to commit to some deliberate act of denial in order to focus on their faith and bring them nearer their God. This is paraphrased into the common giving something up for Lent.
This year, when people ask me, Charlie, what are you giving up for Lent? My answer has to be that I’m giving up the hope that any elected government leaders other than President Trump, are willing to stand up for the beliefs and intentions of a majority of Americans.
This past week, 12 Republican Senators (does that number sound at all familiar in the context of Lent?) joined all of their Democratic colleagues in voting 59-41 in support of a Bill that declared as unconstitutional the President’s National Emergency Declaration to fund a border wall.
In the end, they all forsook him and fled.
It is very important to remember that all of this has come to a head over the past five months because the President did not place his own Party in the position of having to shut the government down while they controlled both Houses of Congress. For two years the President had a majority in the House and in the Senate and tried to rely on them to cooperate in getting our border secured.
They did what is in their nature to do. They did nothing.
It is worth presenting a roll call of those GOP Senators who voted against the President. To borrow from the all-time movie classic, Casablanca, let’s round up the usual suspects:
Mitt Romney (UT), Susan Collins (ME), Marco Rubio (FL), Pat Toomey (PA), Roger Wicker (MS), Lamar Alexander (TN), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Roy Blount (MO), Jerry Moran (KS), Mike Lee (UT), Rob Portman (OH)…
…and Rand Paul (KY) whose libertarian ideals I generally but with whom I simply cannot agree in this case.
The reasons for their turning their back on the President run along the expected lines. Some fear that the use of Emergency Powers will encourage future Presidents to do the same. Others say outright that it is unconstitutional. Roy Blunt actually said that he worried this would allow a Democratic President to use an Emergency Declaration to pass gun control.
Is anybody ready to join me in giving up?
Fortunately, the President isn’t giving up. He is going to veto this non-sensical Bill and let the fight turn to the courts where Republicans along with Democrats will try to stop him. This is with complete disregard of the wishes of the American people.
The polls on the border and the building of a wall can be confusing when looked at as independent parts of a whole because depending upon how the question is asked, journalists and pundits can cite scripture for their purpose and draw differing conclusions. That said, back in January, The Daily Caller ran a piece that did a good job in synthesizing the results of various polls. The conclusion? Americans feel border security is a really big problem and they are willing to spend money to address it.
Our political system has evolved to the point where in most precincts today during most elections, the two party’s have produced a choice for voters that allows them to pick between two non-responsive candidates. Preservation of the status quo along with the trappings of power, privilege, profit, and prestige have become governing objectives for most politicians.
That means that when we have a President like Donald Trump willing to stand up and fight for us, he is forced to fight against them.
There has been no other circumstance like this in modern political history. I wish that the stakes weren’t so high so that I could simply step back and enjoy the incredible theater of this. We have the classic plotline of one solitary figure standing up against a unified threat. In traditional literature, the story usually ends tragically. In a contemporary film, the story often ends triumphantly because movie executives know that crowds are hungry for a hero in a world with so few real ones.
I don’t know how this one will end but already the protagonist has taken on tremendous adversity. The President has lost friends and has had his own Party turn on him. He has been the subject contrived criminal investigations that have seen the use of law enforcement agencies turned into Tammany Hall type machinery. He and his family have been insulted and outright threatened in a way that takes us back to Abraham Lincoln and the days of the Civil War.
As a conservative activist who supports the President, I am constantly under attack and am subject to accusations, rumors, and name-calling. What our President is facing makes me feel like I am as popular as Oprah.
If this most recent rebuke of the President in the Senate doesn’t make clear to all Americans that the answer to our problems isn’t just to elect more Republicans, I don’t know what else can. If we take most of the gang of 12 at their word, then you can summarize their reasons for voting against the President by saying that his boldness scared them.
We don’t need more “R’s” in elected government and we certainly don’t need more “D’s.” What we need are more “C’s,” as in courage.
Enjoy your Lenten season. Don’t give up. Have the courage to keep fighting.
Charlie Kirk is the founder and executive director of Turning Point USA, an advocacy group for young conservatives.