“This case is much worse than someone who falsely shouts fire in a crowded theater. It’s more like a case where the town fire chief, who’s paid to put out fires, sends a mob not to yell fire in a crowded theater, but to actually set the theater on fire.”
I was surprised at how personally I took the Jan. 6th attack. I realized I’d grown smug about the strength and longevity of our democratic system but on that day I felt in my gut how fragile it is. I felt it like a personal assault and it was some brave action and shear luck that resulted in it resolving as it did. There could have been kidnappings and executions. We could be under martial law right now.
Terrorism is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. It’s clear that after Trump ran out of nonviolent options he decided all the domestic terrorists he’d befriended could work a last minute miracle for him.
Reliving January 6th via the impeachment presentations made me realize how deeply we’ve all been impacted by that terror and I wonder how long we’ll be dealing with it?
Trump’s tendency all along has been an amoral, empathy less weaponization of fear.
To my mind, democracy is such a big deal because it is our attempt to craft a substitute for all those systems of “might makes right” – whether kings or dictators, strong men or autocrats, all ruled by fear of who had the best weapons or warriors or most ruthless henchmen.
Democracy is not a contest of who has the better weapons but who has the best ideas about how to live well together and flourish. Where ideas can be presented, championed, criticized, debated, modified and ultimately chosen based on votes. It was designed to replace the game of threats of violence.
So when people brandish semi automatic weapons in political adds claiming to be their political adversaries “worst nightmare” – when halls of legislation are invaded by “patriots” in tactical gear, wearing weapons and ammo belts to look over the shoulders of elected officials trying to do the people’s business, or giving a thumbs up to a bullet to the head of The Speaker of the House (or anyone!) aren’t they all weaponizing fear? Aren’t they showing loudly and proudly that they aren’t playing by the rules of democracy? If their game is still “might makes right” shouldn’t that disqualify them from participating in a system of civilized democracy?
Acknowledging also that Trump’s “Big Lie” relentlessly portrayed a stolen election which signaled the end of democracy as we know it and returned his loyal followers to 1776 status and therefore under “different rules.” Such are the hazards of words wielded by an amoral authoritarian.
As disturbing and moving as the impeachment presentations are, I feel little hope that 17 GOP senators will choose the right side of history.
The only thing that gives me any glimmer of hope was the latest vote regarding Congress woman Cheney – who was being attacked and chastised for being among the ten republican representatives to voted in favor of impeaching a leader who turned his followers against democracy itself, ended up 145 to 61 in favor of her keeping her status in their party. But that vote didn’t require risk or bravery because it was a secret ballot which allowed people to vote their conscience and not be driven by fear. Fear not just of losing their jobs, or of being “primaried”, but real fear for their own and their family’s safety. Aren’t they being assaulted?
Assault refers to an act which causes a victim to apprehend imminent physical harm. Even for citizens not paying attention, since the insurrection and the attack on Congress on January 6th we have all heard many stories of the fear felt by the victims of that attack and the fear many of our representatives and staff of congress still feel. As for physical manifestations of that fear we need only look to the national guard troops and fences and razor wire in Washington DC, at the cost of over $500 million tax payer dollars.
Many of the followers of our former president seem quite pleased that so many citizens and legislators are experiencing fear for their safety and lives. Some laughingly brag about bringing their Glocks to Congress and then try to skirt metal detectors. To what degree is that fear effecting the way our leaders are voting? Might certain critical votes being private remedy that? Might private votes on certain issues allow our legislators to vote their conscience and facilitate more ethical government? Shouldn’t this impeachment trial be one of those occasions?
It makes sense that votes cast by our representatives are mostly public, as we want to know our representative’s records to see if they are earning our votes.
But what about this vote that will soon be made concerning the impeachment of former president Trump? To what degree will fear guide those votes, and how might the outcome differ if it was a secret vote? Might a secret vote result in clearer justice and shape the future of our Republic?
I’ve read it takes a simple majority vote of 51 in the Senate to make such a vote secret, but merely 20 votes can keep it public. This is a very simplistic and probably naive suggestion but what if we cast votes twice, one public and one secret? The discrepancy between them would reveal the amount of fear driving the outcome. If they’re close we honor the public vote and if they show a wide difference we honor the private vote? Pretty sure that'll never happen, but what if?
This rant is not that well thought out so I’d love to hear other’s ideas or insights into this. Heather?
I'm surprised the House impeachment team has not mentioned the quasi-criminal strategy the Trump reelection strategists put into practice to get Republicans to vote in person, thus exposing themselves to Coronavirus infection, so that the early vote count would be high in the first period and decline precipitously as mail-in ballots started to be counted, allowing the Trump people to shout "Fraud." This was a massive operation launched well before the election as states were considering unusual voting measures to reduce making polling stations super-spreader events. Trump wittingly and deliberately pushed Republican voters to put themselves in harms way to suit Trump's mad scheme. The influence campaign and planning this required shows a staggering and morally damnable willingness to expose people to mortal danger. This was an important part of the creation of the "stolen election" campaign. I would like to see more investigation into the role Stephen Miller played in some of Trump's more artful manipulations aimed at giving Trump mobster-like power and the least oversight possible.
I still feel like there is something missing from this story. Why are these Republicans REALLY sticking with Trump?
None of the hypotheses I've seen feel right.
In fact, their antics are so bizarre that I've even entertained the notion that they are true patriots, secretly sacrificing their careers for the purpose of tearing the Republican Party to shreds, so that the nation can survive. Loyal crew members taking the dangerous nuclear submarine all the way to the bottom of the ocean.
Which is absurd, of course. But so is just about any other scenario.
I have to go back to my most basic conspiracy go-to: if it looks like a conspiracy, and smells like a conspiracy, and scares you like a conspiracy, then stop and check to see if it is simply stupidity. And it may be that these 40-some-odd Senators are just that brain-dead.
As David Frum put it in the Atlantic tonight:
If a senator like Marco Rubio did not feel his world tightening around him, he would not look so haunted. The Republican senators are shrinking before the eyes of the whole country. They are all becoming “liddle.” They know it. They feel it. They hate it. But they cannot stop it.
"Profiles in Cowardice" indeed.
Watching the videos has been chilling and sickening. Even before the trial and the iron clad case presented, trump’s intent and actions were crystal clear. Note to republican senators, politics is not a reason acquit nor is pandering to some perverted base of voters to get re-elected. Senators who do not vote to convict have zero integrity, have violated their oath of office and are traitors to this country. As we are well aware, the U.S. Senate has been infiltrated by those with the very worst of intentions and they are a disgrace. The whole world is watching.
I have a new heroine...Stacey Plaskett. I mean all of the House Managers are stupendous but she just stood out. Her demeanor, her task of showing videos with the connect-the-dots alongside was so very compelling. The Managers are playing to American people. They know that the Repubs are trying to ignore their presentations. However, they also know that showing those never-before-seen tweets from F45 to the woman, who presides over an organization, who provided buses for the insurrectionists, would send shock value throughout the chamber. It did, as well as watching in horror when Goodman saved Romney from possible death.
Most of the jurors on the Repub side are cowards but they are also criminals who should be ejected from making any decisions.
The Senators are supposed to be jurors, and the Republicans aren’t even pretending to pay attention. Rand Paul was shown doodling. Chuck Grassley apparently has an iPad to read. Others (including the execrable, seditious Josh Hawley) are just ignoring the presentation. And there will be ZERO consequences to them for their dereliction of duty. That may be the most infuriating thing of all.
What does Lindsey Graham find so "offensive and absurd?" That line truly sticks out as the most offensive (his word) to me. Here he is. One of 100 people who have one of the most important jobs in America. A job that has since become in some ways a laughing stock due to those who fill it like Marco, Josh, Ted. As I watched the video tape of Senators having to run away in the halls of American democracy, it makes me even more angry that Graham, who once was such a critic of Trump once is now the ultimate sycophant. There is not a single principle left in this man who was once also John McCain's best friend. Yes, popular thought is that Donald Trump has facts on Graham that he doesn't want to be revealed, although many in political circles know what those are, or have an inkling. I don't have those facts, but I have heard all the rumors. If true, i find it even more offensive. Senators need to be role models. We need role models, which I didnt have when I was young. To deny who you are and vote against equality for all citizens is perhaps the worst moral offense you can do. Yes, I am being careful here, as I don't have facts. But just responding to the popular thought. The point ultimately is not what Donald has on Lindsey, but that most Republican Senators are so scared of a private citizen that they have lost any courage or principles they once may have had.
Assuming there are not enough honest and/or honorable GOP senators to convict the inciter-in-chief (unfortunately, a very reasonable assumption), then it will be up to the courts, the Dept. of Justice and prosecutors at state and local levels to bring criminal charges against him and his conspirators.
In addition, any ordinary citizens who have been personally damaged by the events on Jan. 6th (survivors of those killed or injured, for example) should lawyer up and file suit. That current members of the House and Senate might well be considered to be co-conspirators should not deter the rest of us from insisting there be personal and institutional accountability and measures taken to ensure this sort of insurrection never happens again.
If I were Josh Hawley, right now, I would be doing deep research on which countries do not extradite fugitives to the United States.
Will somebody please explain what good it would do me to write my Congressional Delegation when they are Marco Rubio, Rick Scott and John Rutherford? I shan't waste my time. Here in Florida, a split Republican Party is the best we can hope for. We are gerrymandered out the whazoo and my Representative refuses Town Hall meetings because "it gives Democrats a platform to be heard." For those recommending new states, please chop Florida into three: North, Central, and South Florida, each exceeding the population of many states. The downside is that it would give Republicans more Senators, at present. The upside is that it would give those of us fighting for change a chance. Duval (Jacksonville) turned Blue the last two elections. I have written here regarding the discouragement of being a resident of Florida with our mini-Trump governor. It is so dang frustrating! To return to my original statement: Why write the likes of Rubio? Play the mental chess game with me. Aren't I better off letting the House Managers tell the story, have Rubio vote as expected, and use the vote as a cudgel during the next election cycle? Which, of course, has already begun.
To actually DO anything requires some members of Congress to admit complicity - something of which they’re incapable. If even once the past four plus years these cowards had the courage not to kiss Donnie Bone Spur’s buttocks, they wouldn’t have enabled him to get this far.
To this day only a very few have the courage to condemn him, his supporters, and their actions.
It is becoming clearer every day that the GOP knows its "Civil War against Color-Blind-Democracy" is lost the minute Trump is effectively removed from the battlefield. They are currently fighting a desperate battle to help Trump survive impeachment and (much more importantly) and a lifetime ban on running for office. And they are waging this desperate battle with massive Democrat reinforcements soon to arrive on the battlefield: AG Garland and an uncorrupted DOJ; a virtual smorgasbord of criminal charges from all points on the compass; televised hearings in Senate and House ... etc., etc., ad infinitum. Only hope for Republicans is that pandemic goes badly for Biden and that somehow, someway Trump can stay out of jail or new scandals and crimes that he will not be able to escape as a private
citizen. The battlefield analogy is a good one: Republicans have a terribly wounded General they will give up anything to nurse back to health (including their actual lives, not just their political lives). For without Trump, they KNOW their cause is lost. And the reality has set in that unless Trump survives, all the king's horses-asses and all the king's men will never, ever be able to put white supremacy together again.
Biden's acting like a president, the Democrats are acting like a party capable of governing, and the Trumpublicans are acting like the malicious, malevolent, mendacious permanent pre-pubescents they are.
That new party is going to clean their clocks, when we hang all this video around each of their necks next year. The American public won't have forgotten how sick they felt today, not for a long time. And as the Democrats deliver the goods as they are, these people are going to wish they'd never invited the lumpenproletariat we saw in the videos to their party.
I'd love to shake these Republican Senators and just say flat out, "Your President Trump tried to have you killed, and all you can do is bend over, grip your ankles, and hope to catch his favor?" It's the craziest kind of cult loyalty...
I've finally found a way to be a peace about trump. It's the awareness that he's going to spend the rest of his life as the defendant in one thing or another. The intention of GA to file charges against him did it for me. Add this to the ongoing tax problems he has with NY, the sex charges that await from some 24 women, the probability of a gigantic suit from Dominion, his huge loans that are coming due soon, and endless scandals that exist elsewhere, trump's ass is going to get nailed to the barn door one way or the other. No more Teflon Don. The Senate may acquit him but he will not walk away from the trail of debris he's created elsewhere this time. Which is nice.
My email to Senator Rick Scott this morning:
“Senator Scott, you obviously believe the impeachment hearing this week is a waste of time. Capitol Police and other Americans were killed and maimed in Trump’s failed coup attempt. The events on 1/6/2021 were different than what happened on 9/11/2001, but no less horrifying. Your behavior is disgraceful and offensive. If you do not like your job, quit. Floridians deserve better.”