As you may have read, Franklin Graham is at it again. The troubled preacher from western North Carolina who long ago attached himself at the hip (apparently for life) to a dishonest serial philanderer and casino magnate who became a dishonest and treasonous politician, issued a remarkable statement about last week’s vote to certify the Electoral College, in which he likened the Republicans who voted not to overturn the election to Judas Iscariot:
This is from a report by Simone Jasper of Raleigh’s News & Observer:
“The House Democrats impeached him because they hate him and want to do as much damage as they can,” Graham said in a Facebook post Thursday. “And these ten, from his own party, joined in the feeding frenzy. It makes you wonder what the thirty pieces of silver were that Speaker Pelosi promised for this betrayal.”
In the Bible, the apostle Judas turns on Jesus in exchange for 30 pieces of silver.
Graham’s outrageous analogy brought to mind a classic scene from mid-20th Century cinema in which the lead characters in a film about an attempted American coup d’état debate who the real “Judas” was.
It’s been 60 years since director John Frankenheimer made “Seven Days in May” — a movie featuring a bevy of great actors that revolves around a plot by right-wing military leaders to to mount an insurrection and depose the President of the United States because they deem him insufficiently tough in dealing with Russia.
(Interesting how times have changed on that latter front, huh?)
Anyway, in the movie, the leader of the plot is a preening neo-fascist Air Force general played by the great Burt Lancaster, who’s convinced the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to join him in abducting the president — also ably portrayed by another Hollywood icon (Frederic March) — on the day of a mock nuclear alert.
Happily, the diabolical plot is foiled by Lancaster’s aide — a Marine colonel played by Kirk Douglas — who, despite his longtime loyalty to his boss, uncovers the treason and helps the president and his team foil the coup.
At the end of the film, after he realizes that the insurrection has collapsed and he and the other joint chiefs have been fired by the President, the Lancaster character confronts the Douglas character — and asks him if he’s “sufficiently up on his Bible to know who Judas was.”
To which Douglas replies, without missing a beat:
“Yes, I know who Judas was. He was a man I worked for and admired until he disgraced the four stars on his uniform.”
When the film is made about Donald Trump’s disastrous presidency, the pathetic lackeys who enabled him, and the failed insurrection that served as its final exclamation point, one imagines there might be some similar dialogue about who the real Judases were in this particular drama.