I happened to be watching CNN on the day after the Nashville school shooting. Reporters were gathered outside the office of Senator Lindsey Graham, hoping for a comment. He emerged. The first question asked him was if he thought that, in the aftermath of the latest tragedy, there was any chance of passing an assault weapons ban. He replied very quickly and with an air of disdain. “No,” he said. His utter contempt for the question was evident. The gun industry and the NRA have a true friend in Senator Graham. Children and teachers are admonished to go to school well-armed so that they can fight it out with the “bad guys”. Maybe a miniature AR-15 could be designed for kids? I resolved, then and there, that I would start a correspondence with Senator Graham. Since I am not a constituent of his, he probably won’t read my letter; so I am passing it along to you in hopes you will forward it his way if you have the misfortune to be his constituent (instructions below). Thanks in advance, Buck




Dear Senator Graham, 

This is the first time I have had occasion to write to you. You see, I am not one of your constituents, having lived outside the Palmetto State for 58 of my 72 years. However, having grown up there and having many, many family members there, I’ve made a habit of keeping up with goings-on in South Carolina.


May I congratulate you for keeping yourself at the front and center of S.C., and even national,  political news for such a long time. Everybody seems to know of the feisty senator from S.C., never at a loss for a zinger sure to make the nightly news. Your latest broadside against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg after he announced Trump’s indictment was no exception. You didn’t disappoint. 


You’ve come a long way from the heady days of the “three amigos” — you, John McCain, and Joe Lieberman. Man, you guys were something else. You traveled the world together looking for places where our brave soldiers could wage war. I bet the CEO’s of the defense contractor fraternity worshiped the ground you three walked on. And our great oil companies must have been equally grateful. I thought it was downright cruel when some people said you three “never met a war you didn’t like.”  Many people think those were your best days as a senator, so your subsequent career choices puzzle me. 


Your decision to run for President in 2015 confounded me. It seemed unlikely that you — a pilot fish swimming beside the great white shark that was McCain — would want to strike out on your own. You’d never shown independence and always sought safety by chumming up with powerful, decisive people. I thought you’d carved out a real niche for yourself as sort of Sancho Panza to McCain’s Don Quixote. 


But when you hit the campaign trail, I had to admit I’d misjudged you. You were awesome! One week you were with McCain in Iraq, the next week you were calling Donald Trump a “race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot.” Wow, did you rip that buffoon a new one! Later, you told him to “go to hell.” Trump really took some incoming from the truth-teller Lindsey Graham. 


Now, for my question — the reason I wrote this letter. What in the world happened to Lindsey Graham in 2016? Was your backbone surgically removed? Did Trump unearth some dirt on you and use it to turn you into his toady? Did the prospect of angering him terrify you? You’d not been  spineless in 2015 or most of 2016; you seemed to have some character of your own, even if that of a pilot fish. But then it vanished. Poof! A boot licker was born overnight. Maybe it was playing golf at Mar a Lago that did it, as some journalists suggest. That might have pumped up your ego even though it always left you in Trump’s shadow. Many insightful journalists have wondered how and why you descended into sycophancy, but none has come up with a satisfying explanation.


For example, it’s been written that you gave your heart and soul to a man you’d have spat on during your halcyon days as McCain’s pilot fish because you feared voters in S.C. would turn on you if you didn’t worship at Trump’s altar. But I don’t buy that, even though Trump took S.C. by storm in 2016.  Who would sacrifice every last vestige of credibility just to gain a vote or two? As a Republican in S.C., you’d have been reelected even if you showed a tiny bit of grit. There was no need to debase yourself totally. 


Now you have been re-elected and Trump is no longer president. Isn’t it time to put a bit of daylight between you two? Groveling before his bloated orange body is not a good look for you. 


Can’t you find another big shark?  How about Ted Cruz? His rants get him a lot of pub. Could he be your new McCain/Trump? Or Tom Cotton? He’s super-militaristic so teaming up with him might seem like the old days with McCain. Yet instead of latching onto a new alpha male, you’re sticking like glue to DJT. Just this week you went ballistic, even shed tears, on national TV about how horribly D.A. Bragg was treating your idol. You were even trying to raise money for Trump. If he’s as rich as he says, why is he rattling a tin cup? Do you ever worry he might be scamming people?


I think we’re all missing the obvious. Trump must have bought you! He must be giving you money to be his lap dog. Nothing else explains your behavior. After all, the man wrote that seminal work of business wisdom, The Art of the Deal. He must have made quite a deal with you to get you on his team. It would explain your about-face in 2016. 


Yet there was a silver lining to your sell-out to Trump. It was good for the country. Certainly you are doing less harm playing Trump’s valet than you might have flying all over the globe looking for countries to invade. And if they ever make a TV series about lifestyles of the rich and tacky, you’ll probably get a cameo appearance as Trump’s caddy. You’d make a splendid tacky twosome!

Let’s keep talking Lindsey!

Humbly yours, 

Buck Close


Dear SC voter/reader: 
Please consider forwarding my letter  to Sen. Graham. Or you could send your own letter. It’s a bit of a process, but worth a very few minutes of your time. Graham needs to hear from S.C. constituents who are unhappy with his positions on various issues, most importantly his strong support for Donald J. Trump in the 2024 presidential race. 
To send my letter or your own to Graham:
• Copy and paste the following link in your browser :  https://www.lgraham.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=contact-form 
A fill-in-the-blank form will appear on your screen. 
• Fill out the form until you get to a heading at the bottom that says “Please write your message”. If you want to write your own message to Graham, do so here. Then click “Submit”.
• If you want to forward my letter to Graham, do this: Leave the fill-in-the-blank form on your screen and go to your email queue. Open the email containing my letter to Graham. Copy my letter using your computer’s “copy” function.  
• Return to the fill-in-the-blank form. Scroll to the “Please write your message” space at the bottom of the form. Paste my letter into that space and click “Submit.” 
• Feel free to add a note of your own to the top or bottom of my letter. 
Hoping that Senator Graham hears from us,
Buck Close

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About Buck Close

Deacon Buck Close serves on the staff of the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Newport, RI. He was born in South Carolina, graduated from Tulane University in 1972 with a BA in Economics and Latin American Studies.

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