One of the best features of American politics used to be its reliability. I’m not saying it ran well, but at least you knew what the parts did. Democrats tried to increase social services and tax rich people to pay for them. Republicans tried to invade the Middle East and lower taxes to pay for it. The shouting pundits, flacks posing as reporters, vampire consultants and party hacks all shook out along recognizable strategic and political lines. Then 2016 happened. Today is Friday, and the old verities no longer apply. Won’t you try to tell the players without a scorecard with me?
I defy you to find that quote anywhere in the writings of St. Augustine, machine for striking phrases though he was. Diligent internet Catholics trace its origin to Pastor Chuck Spurgeon, whose name does not look as good next to a lion and who said it a little differently:
The Word of God is like a lion. You don’t have to defend a lion. All you have to do is let the lion loose, and the lion will defend itself.
I’m glad Augustine didn’t put so many hard stops in his aperçu, and I’m glad Pastor Chuck limited his analogy to the word of god. Given the confusion over both quote and attribution, I’m declaring this one fair game for rewrites. Today is Friday, and the truth is a lion: let it out, and it will defend itself. That’s why lions rule the Earth and lying is unprofitable. Won’t you lunge toward the net with me?
The good news is that the United States was not involved in any way with the UK’s decision to detain David Miranda, partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, under Schedule 7 of Britain’s Terrorism Act 2000. Sure, we knew about it in advance, but we didn’t request or encourage it—nor do we condemn it, and we won’t say whether we benefited from it. According to pleasingly-named White House spokesman Josh Earnest, the British detention of the boyfriend of the journalist who reported the Edward Snowden leaks is just a fact the US government calmly absorbed, like a jellyfish encountering a Gummi Bear. Our executive branch’s placidity in the face of what is maybe the most naked abuse of anti-terrorism law in the modern era is a model we all can follow, and so is its use of understatement. Quote from important British person after the jump.