Updated: Jun 10
November 3, 2020
Since Election Night 2020, I have said Congress should hold well-produced, prime time hearings to fully explore ... the election results.
Had that happened before January 6th, the Capitol problems would not have occurred. It would have been helpful and healing to do that. It would have helped all of us trust in the process. It would have helped "Democracy!"
I assume the results of the election were adequately fair. But, because no actual comprehensive hearings were held, I can't know that. I would love to be able to know and say that.
"Seriously?!," says the smug Leftist, "do you really have doubts about the election? Don't you notice that whenever a respected news source mentions election doubts they always use words like 'false' or 'unsubstantiated' or "big lie'?"
Yeah, I do notice that. I also notice that when the same sources mention moon landing denial or the Tawana Brawley "incident" or claims that Hunter Biden's laptop was a Russian plot or any other lunatic beliefs, they don't typically put the "false claim" modifier on it. Why is that? Anyway ...
January 6, 2021
Farewell Party -
Remember, those who went to Washington on January 6th were a diverse group of people from all over the country, but the vast majority of the thousands there had only a couple of goals. Either they (a) simply wanted to participate in a pro-America rally and thank their champion for trying to "Make America Great Again" and/or (b) they were concerned our system of government might have been hijacked by a fraudulent election and wanted to see that resolved. That is about as far away from an insurrection as you can get.
Again, our whiny Congress could have stopped that second motivation dead in its tracks by simply demonstrating the validity of the election in the swing states, through a transparent bipartisan investigation. Because of the screwed up processes used in some of the states (I'm looking at you, Pennsylvania), it might be impossible to prove the election was valid, but that would not have been necessary - just a genuine, good-faith effort to ensure all that could be done was. Open and above board.
"The courts proved the election was the cleanest of all time!"
No, they did not. For the most part, the courts ruled on procedural issues in specific jurisdictions; none of it was even close to a comprehensive investigation and presentation to the American people.
"Holding hearings on the election would be ridiculous and a waste of money!"
Why? Because it is demonstrably clear there were no problems? If so, then it would be easy (and very worthwhile) to have the hearing. Show the 155+ million Americans who voted (and the rest of the world) that their vote was respected. Awesome. Everyone would feel better - presumably especially Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. and his supporters.
Again, I am not saying the election was stolen. I am just saying it was a mistake to rely completely on the "nothing to see here; move along" mantra.
Insurrection, Sedition ... and Other Big Words -
From what we know, it is possible there was some extremely small subset of the group that ... what? ... wanted to coronate Donald Trump as eternal king?* No one on any side takes them seriously. If that was the objective, it was not necessary to do that on January 6th (the certification day for the Electoral College). That could have been (unsuccessfully) attempted any time. And there is no reason to do it (whatever "it" would have been) at the Capitol, for that matter.
The reason the vast majority of the people went to the Capitol on January 6th was because that was the last opportunity under the Constitution and the enabling legislation to have any chance at addressing election concerns, to the extent possible at that point. They wanted their elected representatives to know it was important to them.
Again, that is NOT an insurrection. At most, it is trying to ensure our process was playing out the way it was supposed to.
ProTip: if you want to start an insurrection (which I don't advocate), do two things:
have some kind of plan - for both the insurrection itself and the days following and
bring whatever weapons you have.
In other words, while passions did spiral into temporary ugliness and there is some evidence a very small number of people even went in with disruptive intentions, THIS WAS IN NO WAY AN INSURRECTION.* There was no plan for the overthrow of the government, because ... wait for it ... THEY WERE NOT TRYING TO OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT. No one brought their guns - which I am sure many of them owned - because ... wait for it ... THEY WERE NOT TRYING TO OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT.
June 9, 2022
I hope I am wrong, but I won't be. What will happen on these prime-time hearings is simply a disingenuous, completely one-sided show trial, like in the days of the Soviet Union, except with better video.** There will be cleverly edited montages of ugly, stupid confrontations in various parts of the building and grounds, and there will be random texts and emails taken out of context. What there won't be is any balance or attempt to keep things in perspective.
If this was something serious at all, it would include committee members appointed by the minority party, as has always been the case. And, no, Republicans selected by Democrats - in place of the ones nominated by the Republican leadership - do not count.
I would love to understand why hearings about some people stumbling into the Capitol a year and a half ago should be in prime time on all the networks, whereas Supreme Court confirmation hearings are not. Neither were hearings on the war in Ukraine. Or the hearings on the BLM riots ... oh, wait, there were no hearings on the BLM riots.
Speaking of the two Dempublicans on the committee, when asked about why we have not had BLM hearings, the genius Adam Kinzinger emoted, "not once, did I ever feel that the future of self-governance was threatened like I did on January 6th. There is a difference between breaking the law and rejecting the rule of law. Between a crime, even grave crimes, and a coup." Hate to pop your cherished balloon, Adam, but, again, there was no coup. There was no vague possibility of a coup. There was no real plan of a coup.* And there was no threat to "the future of self-governance."
Adam, do you think there is a magic decoder ring at the Capitol and the Proud Boys were just a few hundred yards from getting it and controlling the government and all of our minds? Let me assure you: there is no decoder ring. And even if someone had taken possession of, say, the Speaker's gavel, that does not make them the Speaker of the House. That's not how it works.
One more thing, Adam, the BLM riots were very much about rejecting the rule of law. And were much more organized. And much more protracted. And much more violent. And much more damaging. And much more deadly. And much more serious.
The Real Point
The hearings are really about four very cynical objectives, which are far more damaging to our nation than what happened on 1/6/21:
Distracting the American public from the dismal state of the country under the Biden administration as the mid-terms loom,
Painting all Republicans as white supremacists or sympathizers,
Ending the Electoral College - simply because Democrats think that will help them with the next few presidential elections (not because they have carefully considered the Federalist Papers and concluded Hamilton was wrong***), and
Banning Trump from being able to run again, or at least tarnishing him further.
The Committee won't, but they should, use Mike Pence as their role model. On January 6, 2021, Vice President Pence didn't do what was best for him or "his side;" he did what he believed was best for the country. If the Committee used the same standard, they would tone this whole thing down to a brief procedural hearing on how best to physically secure federal buildings (and Justices' homes) and then get back to trying to fix our economy.
* common problem: in any group large enough, you will have one or a few nut cases that say or believe or even do anything. That does NOT indict the whole group. To the extent there was a small group of macho men spewing bravado amongst their bros, they were not (and still aren't) anything vaguely resembling a threat to the United States. Believe me, DHS is all over that and has it more than covered relative to other risks.
**That whole history repeating itself thing keeps, well ... repeating. From the historylearningsite.co.uk:
The show trials that took place in Stalin’s USSR had a very specific purpose for Stalin. The show trials were not held in secret but were, as their title suggests, in the open with foreign journalists invited and were there to prove to those in the USSR who were interested that ‘enemies of the state’ still existed despite the ‘Red Terror’ and that state leaders such as Stalin were at risk. There is little doubt that those who faced a show trial were going to be found guilty and they served the main purpose of Stalin – to get rid of anyone who might be a potential rival to him as leader.
***it is heart-breaking to read Federalist No. 68, and Plubius' (presumed to be Alexander Hamilton in this case) paragraph on the electoral college, and compare it to where we are now:
The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications. Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States. It will not be too strong to say, that there will be a constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters pre-eminent for ability and virtue. And this will be thought no inconsiderable recommendation of the Constitution, by those who are able to estimate the share which the executive in every government must necessarily have in its good or ill administration. Though we cannot acquiesce in the political heresy of the poet who says: ``For forms of government let fools contest That which is best administered is best,'' yet we may safely pronounce, that the true test of a good government is its aptitude and tendency to produce a good administration.