The Misogynistic and Racist Lindsay Graham

Dear Gentlepeople Of South Carolina,

I am writing because I just cannot take this racist and misogynistic political rhetoric from Lindsay Graham and the Republican Party anymore without speaking up. I am appalled that one of our own senators from our lovely state of South Carolina has decided to take a starring role in the political horror show that is currently playing in the Washington, DC. Tragically, there are so many issues I could discuss but, in the name of brevity, I will focus on two recent issues that are personal for me; Lindsey Graham’s behavior and comments throughout the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation and his recent remark disparaging Iranians.

Recently Lindsey Graham made a racist comment on TV about Iranians. This kind of hateful language towards Middle Easterners or anyone is simply unacceptable. Under the Trump administration this kind of divisive and abhorrent language has become so commonplace that the senator of our great state of South Carolina feels comfortable enough to show his true racist colors on national TV. There was, of course, a backlash because decent Americans see his remark for the racial slur that it is regardless of his attempt to deflect and spin his comment by calling it a “joke.” Because, regardless of how it is labeled by him or anyone else we all know what it was, a racial insult, whether or not it was cloaked in humor.

My grandfather was Armenian so I have Middle Eastern ancestry which makes Lindsey Graham’s comments personal for me. My family made exquisite Persian rugs and my grandfather gave one to the White House when Franklin Roosevelt was President. President Roosevelt sent my grandfather a personal, signed letter thanking my grandfather and praising his “loyalty” which I keep framed on my wall. I have included a picture of the letter. The shocking contrast of language between President Roosevelt and Lindsey Graham towards Middle Easterners demonstrates that our great country has devolved. We were once a nation led by great men like Franklin Roosevelt who were gracious and inclusive. Now we have been forced to watch our wonderful country suffer under leadership that enables and even encourages bullying, racism and hate.

I also want to call out Lindsey Graham’s misogynistic behavior. His absolute willingness to throw women under the bus for political gain is sickening. His choice to act out an obviously calculated tantrum in the Senate hearings on Dr. Ford’s accusation against Brett Kavanaugh was absurd and offensive. Lindsey Graham went on to declare that Dr. Ford is a woman who “has a problem” as if he has some expert ability to judge her highly credible claim against Brett Kavanaugh as false. Clearly, his expert ability is only in how to willingly sacrifice the safety of all women for political gain.

Lindsey Graham questions Dr. Ford and her story. Well, here are the facts. Her story is the same as the story of many, many women who have been sexually assaulted. Her story is my story. Like Dr. Ford, I, too, was sexually assaulted as a teenager by someone a couple of years older than me. Like Dr. Ford, I was at a party with one of my best, lifelong friends. Like Dr. Ford, I never told my friend anything about my being assaulted. Like Dr. Ford, I, too, locked it away in my psyche as if it didn’t matter and moved on with my life. But, I was wrong. It did matter. It does matter. It has affected me throughout my life. It damaged me. And, Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing and appointment rubbed salt in my wound and damaged me again.

The #MeToo movement has given me the support to start exploring how the multiple times men have used their physical strength and power to threaten me sexually has influenced my life. This heroic movement has given me permission to speak out loud about sexual assault. And, since Brett Kavanaugh’s despicable nomination circus and ludicrous appointment to the Supreme Court I have started talking about it even more. Yet, to this day, just like Dr. Ford, I have never told my dear friend who was there the night I was attacked; even as I have begun telling my story more and more often and even after owning it publicly by putting it in writing in this letter. Will I ever tell her? I don’t know. Is that even a fair question? No, not at all. Because, clearly, it’s not the point at all. But, I guarantee you that, like in Dr Ford’s story, my friend wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to say what Leland Keyser said….”I believe her.”

Clearly, the point is that Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court after multiple accounts demonstrated that, at the very least, his character is grossly suspect.The point is strikingly clear that Lindsey Graham is more than willing to play political games with the lives of women and the less powerful. I have been told that 99% of sexual predators go unpunished. Of course they do! Look around. We have a man in the oval office who has been accused multiple times of sexual misconduct who spat on the sanctity of our Supreme Court by recklessly pushing the appointment of another man accused of sexually attacking a highly credible woman. And, chillingly, because of men like Lindsey Graham, Kavanaugh’s appointment was rammed through.

In any other administration Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination would have been withdrawn. But, the Republican’s knew that the timing was get Brett Kavanaugh appointed no matter what or possibly lose their chance to fill this Supreme Court seat because of the midterm elections. At the end of the day the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation and hearings was about politics, decency and goodness be damned. Tragically, this is what so many Republicans have come to. This is what Lindsey Graham is all in on.

Enough is enough. The country I love is better than this. The country I love is better than Lindsey Graham. The state I love is better than Lindsey Graham. This is the time. This is the moment to choose our beloved state and and our beloved country over party. This is the time for us to choose unity and caring over nasty, hateful discourse. We can not allow ourselves to be silenced and let our stories be gaslighted and manipulated for “optics”. Our safety is absolutely not expendable for political gain. We must come together and stand up for each other. We must choose decency and goodness over the current Republican rhetoric of viciousness and bullying that has become politics as usual for far too many politicians like Lindsey Graham.

-Emilie Costikyan

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