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James Lankford Shows Courage in Immigration Bill, despite Own Party's Backlash

Maina Mwaura | CrosswalkHeadlines Contributor | Updated: Feb 28, 2024
James Lankford Shows Courage in Immigration Bill, despite Own Party's Backlash

James Lankford Shows Courage in Immigration Bill, despite Own Party's Backlash

Let’s face it, when it comes to the word “courage,” we usually don’t think of our politicians. If anything, when thinking about politicians, the words that typically come to mind are quite the opposite of “courage.”

I’ve interviewed almost 800 leaders, and I’ve never written a piece on a politician having courage. Although, I usually don’t write op-ed/commentary pieces. However, I felt the Lord leading me to write this piece in support of someone that I’ve interviewed before - even written an op-ed before on how he lacked courage after January 6, 2021.

As I watched Oklahoma Senator James Lankford give his recent speech in the same room that he gave his speech on that January 6, questioning the election results (which he apologized for), I couldn’t help but think of the courage that must take. It must take courage to give a speech knowing the bill that he worked for, for four plus straight months, was going down in defeat and to have the courage to still defend it - knowing that the bill wasn’t going to pass, and was going to face backlash.

I know from a close friend who knows the senator’s daughter that Senator Lankford worked on the immigration bill even during the Christmas holiday, and even spent time walking across the aisle to Democrats to get support from all sides. In a nutshell, the immigration bill would have provided the necessary tools to confront our outdated and weak immigration system along with providing funds for Ukraine and Israel, which are all things the Republican party say they are for.

That's what the American people say they want politicians to do.

However, when the going gets tough and they do the right thing in getting support outside of their party, the American public doesn’t seem to like it, which was the case for Senator Lankford.

Although the bill hadn’t even been read by Former President Trump or Speaker Mike Johnson, they had decided that because the bill wasn’t benefiting them or their party, it should fail. “They’re all functioning off of internet rumors of what’s in the bill and many of them are false,” said Lankford.

Another courageous member of the Republican party, Senator Mitt Romney, applauded what Lankford was doing. I recently interviewed McKay Coppins on his new book Romney: A Reckoning, which highlighted Romney’s courage. Romney and Lankford are both men of courage in a time where it seems hard to find in American politics... which is pretty interesting given that the members of the Republican party wanted exactly what Lankford was championing.

In fact many historians and pundits even said that the party was getting exactly what it wanted out of the bill. I find it interesting that the former president, along with Speaker Johnson, failed to put the interest of the American people first - which is exactly what Lankford did.

“Our immigration laws have been weak for years. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to close our open border and give future administrations the effective tools they need to stop the border chaos and protect our nation," remarked Lankford. As I watched him say that, I couldn’t help but think through what the former president and the Republican party was walking away from. I also thought of the courage that it took for Lankford to confront members in his own party.

Although the story of David confronting Nathaniel in 2 Samuel 12:7 isn’t close to a comparison to Lankford’s remark, it was defiantly reminiscent of that famous "Thou art the man" moment as Lankford essentially confronted former President Trump and was clear what the party would be missing out on.

In a day and time in which the American people say they want their politicians to be courageous, Lankford was exactly that in standing up and telling the truth along with being able to confront Former President Trump, who many in the party fear and are willing to back down from any comment that he may make against an issue, or, in this case, the immigration bill that Lankford so courageously put his neck on the line to put together.

I’m thankful Lankford put country first over power or the idea that we should just wait just in case former President Trump may become president to confront a serious national crisis. What is happening at our border should be taken seriously and not used for political points to who it might benefit the most.

Lankford has been vocal about his critics and the bullies who have tried to come after him. One popular political commentator even threatened that he "would do whatever is in his power to destroy" Lankford. I can only assume this threat was not over his policy, but because he decided to do the right thing in putting the American people’s interest first.

Some may not know that Lankford is an ordained pastor. I've had the privilege of being around him numerous times and would consider us friends, which is why I can make this statement: Lankford isn't perfect. Nobody is. But, he is a man of conviction and I'm thankful that he showed courage when our country needed it.

Although the immigration bill didn't pass and his work may seem in vain, I know that our work is done for the Lord and Lankford can hold his head up high knowing that he did the right thing. Which in my opinion makes him a man of courage in a place like Washington that is in need of more leaders like Senator Lankford.

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of ChristianHeadlines.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Alex Wong /Staff

James Lankford Shows Courage in Immigration Bill, despite Own Party's Backlash