Burn Down David Brooks: 10 Politicians Braver than Lindsey Graham

Today, in one of their sometimes entertaining and sometimes enlightening dialogues that plays like a network commercial designed to fill space between New York Times articles but you just know ends with them doin’ it (or at least Brooks trying and Collins turning him down), Gail Collins and David Brooks discussed immigration reform. In this, Brooks refers to Sen. Lindsey Graham as “the bravest politician in the country, bar none.”

This political discussion is a deviation from his traditional wanna-be philosophy grad student TA columns  that set him apart from other middling, sane Republicans whom he joins in his “you ever notice how people in red states drive like this, but people in blue states drive like this” even though he’s never actually lived in a red state. However, it maintains that same essence of his usual work of not being traditionally disprovable, yet eliciting a stream of contrary arguments.

Thus, here is my list of 10 politicians braver than Lindsay Graham, which I compiled while in the bathroom after copyright class.

1. Oliver Queen

Its like if Batman were liberal

Political position

Mayor of Star City

Who is he?

Oliver Queen, aka the Green Arrow, is a superhero. Much like Batman he has no real powers, but some awesome technology and a lot of money. Unlike Batman, he is not a cryptofascist, but rather a traditional liberal. He began expressing his political opinions as a newspaper columnist. In 1979 he ran for Mayor of Star City but lost. However, he runs again after the events of Infinite Crisis and is elected mayor .

Why is he braver?

Because without any superpowers, he routinely fights and defeats people with superpowers, such as a giant, radioactive, North Korean robot. Also, he stands up to Superman and Batman, ensuring that the Justice League not only protects the planet and universe from the biggest crises, but looks after the weak and downtrodden on earth.

So when is the last time Lindsey Graham stood up to a giant, radioactive, North Korean robot?

2. Congressman John Lewis

He represents Hotlanta

Political Position

Representative from Georgia’s 5th Congressional District

Who is he?

Quoteth Wikipedia: John Robert Lewis (born February 21, 1940) is an American politician and was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. He was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and played a key role in the struggle to end segregation. Lewis, a member of the Democratic Party, has represented Georgia’s 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives since 1987. The district encompasses almost all of Atlanta.

Why is he braver?

Lewis helped organize non-violent sit-ins, boycotts and protests during the civil rights movement. Specifically, during the Selma to Montgomery marches, police attacked him and beat him in public, leaving scars that you can still see today.

At the 1963 March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I have a Dream” speech, Lewis’s own speech included the line “Which side is the government on?” (though that line was cut so as to work with the Kennedy Administration).

However, despite being beaten by government officials and questioning they’re dedication to civil rights and being silenced, he did not fight or resort to violence, but joined the system that seemed to attack him at every turn and tried to change it from the inside.

Perhaps his most amazing moment, Lewis received and accepted an apology on live, national TV from a former Klansman who had personally attacked and beaten him.

3. George Washington

Political Position

Really?

Who is he?

Really???

Why is he braver?

I’d like to point to one specific event to illustrate Washington’s bravery. In 1791, congress imposed an excise tax on Whiskey. Considering that they had just fought a war over taxing things, many people refused to pay. While the tax protestors were called to appear before U.S. district court, most didn’t and instead rioted, resulting in the Whiskey Rebellion. As Commander-in-Chief, Washington led a ragtag militia group into the rebelling areas of the country. There was no large standing army at the time and Washington very well may have been marching into a trap of armed tax-dodgers.

Now that takes balls. But what Washington did next was even ballsier. Instead of fighting, Washington addressed those who refused to pay by giving a speech. Before staring, he pulled out his reading glasses so he could read his notes, commenting: “My eyes grow weary in service to my nation.”

The crowd broke down in tears and the violent rebellion disbanded without a shot being fired. Imagine if Abraham Lincoln subdued the Confederacy merely with the opening lines of a speech. That’s basically what Washington did.

Now, the facts of the case are somewhat hazy. But there was a Whiskey Rebellion and Washington did march in with a tiny army and ended the rebellion without a single shot. But it doesn’t matter whether the story is true, Judge Blogreader. Its a good story.

4. Unnamed President in the X-Men cartoon

I'm sure there is some sort of Gender Studies paper to be written about how the woman president doesn't have a name.

Political Position

President in Marvel Universe Earth-92131

Who is she?

Though unnamed, she served President before the election of anti-mutant Senator Robert Kelly to the office of President.

Why is she braver?

During her time as President, the United States began to confront the reality of mutants, for better or worse. On the worse side, the Mutant Control Agency came to be as a private, yet government-supported, organization created with the supposed purpose of voluntary mutants registration. However, this registration information was actually given to the Sentinel program, which then hunted and captured the mutants.

Upon learning about this program, the Unnamed President immediately shut down the program.

In the face of a rising class of superhumans, a growing and at times justifiable fear among the populace, and political pressure, the Unnamed President accepted the help of the X-Men, even though they had just attacked the government installation that housed the Mutant Control Agency, and shut down the discriminatory program.

She did not give in to fear. She did not give in to cowardice. She did not give in to bigotry. Brave.

5. Arnold Vinick

Baaaaaa, bum bum bummmmmm. baa baa bummmmmmm, ba bum ba bummm (da na na na).....

Political Position

Republican Senator from California

Who is he?

On the West Wing, Vinick ran for President and was defeated by the Democratic candidate Matt Santos. Also, I think he served as a surgeon during the Korean War. Then someone killed a chicken, but it was actually a baby.

Why is he braver

I’ll point to one specific moment that was especially brave. In the West Wing episode King Corn, all the candidates are arranged to speak before the Iowa Corn Growers. While nearly all candidates are told to support ethanol, and nearly all oppose it, only Vinick has the guts to tell the corn growers than ethanol is a bad idea. I can’t find a video online, but its a great scene.

6. Christian X of Denmark

I remember a time when royalty had mustaches. Also, I wonder if he's related to Malcolm X.

Political Position

King of Denmark from 1912-1947 and the King of Iceland from 1918-1944.

Who is he?

As King of Denmark, engaged in conflict with the cabinet concerning reunification of Denmark and other territories after the Treaty of Versailles. Also, he had a mustache and apparently was a jerk.

Why is he braver

While his brother the King of Norway went into exile during Nazi occupation, he remained in the capital as a sign of support to those opposing the Nazis. During this time, he used his powers of being a jerk to fight the Nazis.

For example, on the King’s 72nd birthday Adolf Hitler apparently sent him a really long birthday telegram. The King merely replied with a “My best thanks, the King.” In response, Hitler recalled the ambassador from Cophenhagen and expelled the Danish ambassador.

Furthermore, during the Nazi occupation the King would routinely go on daily horse rides around Copenhagen, without any guard. Supposedly, while on these rides, he would wear the same Star of David that Jews were forced to wear. Brave.

Again, it doesn’t matter whether the story is true (I’m recounting it from having read Number The Stars in 5th grade), its a good story.

7. John F. Kennedy

Ich Bin Ein Rich Playboy

Political Position

Friend of Frank Sinatra, also President or something

Who is he?

JFK originally starred in a TV show about him and his brother as children before one of them would later become president. Kennedy was inspired by the plot and entered politics, laying out his plan for his administration in the feature length film JFK, which led to the spinoff film Thirteen Days. To ensure his continuation after his planned assassination, he had himself cloned. His clone would later go on to date the clone of Cleopatra in the illustrated documentary Clone High.

Why is he braver

While JFK served on PT-109, the boat was attacked by a destroyer and literally cut in half. To seek help, Kennedy swam between tiny islands, carrying people who were injured or couldn’t swim well, all the while fighting off crocodiles and sharks.

To summarize: JFK is brave because he fought a shark.

Again: Kennedy fought a shark and won!

Once more: The President of the United States fought a shark and won.

I believe it looked a little something like this

Or this!

8. Sean McBeath

More Sean McStupid. amirite?

Political Position

President of Martel College

Who is he

Sean is tall and worked for the Thresher but then didn’t but then did and also was President of Martel College or something.

Why is he braver

As part of its traditional letters asking for $$$ donations, the Rice annual fund sent out letters apparently on behalf of the college presidents, including their signatures. However, Sean did not cooperate and instead the Rice Annual Fund used a fake, machine-generated version of Sean’s signature without his permission. Sean, and the Thresher, stood up to the administration, which falsely used Sean’s signature and likeness for monetary gain.

Other college presidents had their signatures faked, too. But only Sean stood up for himself. Brave!

9. Brady Tyson

Political Position

Editor-in-Chief of the Rice Thresher

Who is he?

I don’t know too much about him

Why is he braver

In the Sept. 16, 1948 issue of the Rice Thresher, Tyson wrote the following editor to Strom Thurmond:

The Honorable J. Strom Thurmond:

In the opinion of many of us the recent contest in Harris county was marred by the injection of the racial question into the campaign. Full-page ads that mentioned States’ Rights only as a shield to prevent Federal legislation against segregation were used. Inflammatory points were arefully enumerated. The ads threatened “Negroes in your churches, in your schools, in your colleges, in your swimming pools, in your beauty shops,” unless Thurmond and Wright were supported.

Such support can only eventually hurt the cause of the States’ Rights Democrats. The Christian sense of the people of the South, will, at last, become disgusted by such a hate campaign and will react against the States’ Rights Democratic party. If such a campaign is pursued it will only mean that in the eyes of the people of America those of us who stand for States’ Rights must stand also for segregation; whereas I believe the facts to be that many of us who support the States’ Rights ticket are convinced that segregation is morally wrong, and as such must be eventually eliminated thru education and a return to the principles of Christian brotherhood.

Very truly,

BRADY TYSON

Editor The Thresher

This letter got picked up by national news. At a time when Houston, not to mention Rice, still discriminated against blacks, this guy had the balls to call out Thurmond on his unabashed racism.

Thurmond wrote back:

To the Editor:

While the segregation issue is of vital importance to the South, anyone who is familiar with the States’ Rights issue know that it is not the fundamental question which has aroused the patriotism of Southern leaders. The matter of segregation is merely one of the many fields in which the State is supreme under our United States Constitution. Among other questions are those of police power, control of the ballot, and regulation of all internal matters.

Opinions as to segregation vary in the South as elsewhere. I, myself, believe that sep-aration of the races is necessary in my own State for the welfare of both white and colored. But I am firmly convinced that this question is one for decision by the people of the separate states, and not Constitutionally under the authority of the Federal Government.

I hope this answers your questions.

If you publish my reply, please be kind enough to convey to the people of Houston my sincere appreciation for the confidence they showed in the cause of the States’ Rights Democrats in their Harris County referendum on August 28th.

With kindest regards and best wishes,

Very truly,

J. STROM THURMOND

Governor

Tyson, you’ve got balls.

Also, I’d like to give an honorable mention to some random Thresher EIC from the 1920s who wrote in the Thresher a defense of integration both nationally and on campus. I don’t have the actual article on hand, so I can’t write about it. I do recall that most of the letters in response were basically “WOULD YOU LET A NEGRO DATE YOUR SISTER WAWAWA?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!”

10. Vaclav Havel/Nelson Mandela/whatever

Whatever, you know the deal with these guys. Thats 10.

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One response to “Burn Down David Brooks: 10 Politicians Braver than Lindsey Graham

  1. Pingback: So I guess David Brooks is speaking tomorrow | Burn Down Blog

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