In the now routinely mind-numbing news cycle, Republican politicians and pundits have mocked the concept of a “Spartacus Moment.” Attempting to use this reference to denounce the ripple Senator Booker set off, they jabbed at the democratic actions in places like twitter and the news. Well, they were wrong to do so. For even one of their own felt the call: Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona.
While the Senator has long been a verbal critic of President Trump, it was inspiring and refreshing to see Flake finally turn words into actions. Outgoing Senator Flake called on Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote to be delayed until Dr. Christine Blasey Ford herself testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Flake plainly declared he was not comfortable voting “yes” without Ford’s voice. Just like Senator Booker, Flake’s words quickly spawned a “Spartacus Moment”—this time on the Republican side. Echoing Flake were Republican Senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Bob Corker and Lindsey Graham. Ford would be heard.
While President Trump initially signaled support for the move, privately he was furious, as evidenced by his eventual Twitter tantrums, smearing Dr. Ford and accusing the “the radical Left” of trying to undermine his presidency. (Of course, it did not take long for him to unleash his disdain of all things female, including Lady Justice). Flake boldly fired back at Trump’s inhumane, conspiratorial dismissals. The Senator declared loud and clear that he did not believe the women were part of a Democratic conspiracy to sink Kavanagh.
Whereas other Republicans on the Committee, such Senators Orrin Hatch and Lindsey Graham, have pathetically tried to trivialize the accusations, Flake stated, “I do not believe that the claim of sexual assault is invalid because a 15-year-old girl didn’t promptly report the assault to the authorities… How uninformed and uncaring do we have to be to say things like that, much less believe them? Do we have any idea what kind of message that sends, especially to young women?”
Thus the Senator has created the perfect opportunity for his colleagues to create that potent “Spartacus Moment” that is needed. Will they leap into the pit with him, the way Cory Booker’s democratic colleagues did? With McConnell reportedly refusing to postpone neither Kavanagh’s Judiciary Committee vote nor the final Senatorial Confirmation vote, now is the time for the GOP to join Flake in shouting. Now is the time to hold Kavanaugh accountable. If this develops into a rallying cry, then McConnell—and the inhumane Commander-in-Chief he answers to—will have no choice but to listen!
From both sides of the aisle now, we have seen what a “I am Spartacus” moment can do. These important stands of defiance against this oppressive administration are a testament to the power of civil disobedience, and the lasting impact it can have. Like the dedication of Spartacus and his men, it is essential both public servants and civilians follow Booker and Flake’s examples and defy oppression at every turn.
© Jarrod Emerson (9/29/18) FF2 Media
Top photo: Jeff Flake (Photo credit: Politico)
Bottom photo: Kirk Douglas in Spartacus (Credit: Bryna Productions)