Senator Lindsey Graham, civil liberties abuses advocate and NSA defender extraordinaire, upon learning that — gasp! — the government is actually spying on him personally, along with his Senate colleagues. (via priceofliberty)
LTMC: It’s nice to see that Lindsey Graham is such a fervent defender of democracy when his own rights are at stake. This is, after all, the same man who said "Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war" when discussing First Amendment rights in the wake of the infamous Terry Jones Koran-burning incident. It’s always easy to sacrifice other peoples’ liberty for your own security. When you wind up having to sacrifice your own as well, it’s magical how fast opinions can change.
It’s sad how predictable this phenomenon can be. When police in New York City employ “Stop n’ Frisk” to make the city safer, the majority of White New Yorkers approved of the program, while the majority of Black residents did not. Similar attitudes towards “tough on crime” policies prevail in other large cities, where the collateral damage from aggressive policing is borne almost entirely by poor communities of color. For the most part, it is not White residents who are being subject to humiliation, harassment, abuse, and violence in Constitution-free police zones. It is not usually White residents who find themselves inconvenienced and impoverished by aggressive enforcement of petty traffic violations in poor neighborhoods.
This makes it easier for White residents to approve of these tactics, because they are not normally victims of the fallout. It is not their rights that are being sacrificed to make the community safer. It is not their cars that are being pulled over multiple times on the same road. If White residents were being systematically harassed by police, you can bet that their attitude toward “tough on crime” policies would change.
So it’s not surprising to see Lindsey Graham suddenly up in arms about the CIA spying on him and his legislative peers. Because it is happening to him, and that scares him. It scares him to know that federal law enforcement officials could be spying on him. Just like it scares the residents of poor communities of color to walk down the street knowing they are more likely to be stopped or harassed by police than their White friends. Just like it scares Arab Americans and Muslims to know that they are more likely to be profiled as terrorists by the TSA, the NSA, the FBI, and the NYPD than their White friends.
I wonder if Senator Lindsey Graham will make the connection. Probably not, given his magnificent track record.