“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
The words of our forefathers are a breath of fresh air. We’ve come a long way since 1776, but we’re now hearing suggestions from a recently formed organization, Battlefront, that “those of us temperamentally disposed must lay siege to our nation’s institutions.” It’s time, they say.
Back in 2012 Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institute and Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute had suggested, “The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme, scornful of compromise, unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science and dismissive of the legitimacy of political opposition.”
We were awarding Pinocchios then, but it has since become clear that our Grand Old Party no longer finds it convenient to hold truths self-evident or derive its powers from the consent of the governed. As former acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen and deputy Attorney General Richard P. Donoghue have testified, advised that he had lost the 2020 election, President Trump instructed his Department of Justice, “Just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen.”
The violent insurrection on January 6, 2021, the first of its kind since 1812, resulted in nine deaths, 114 officers injured, and $1.5 million in damages.
Representative Adam Schiff echoed our forefathers at a recent January 6 Congressional Committee hearing: “For more than 200 years, our democracy has been distinguished by the peaceful transfer of power. Raising their right hand and taking the Presidential oath of office transforms an ordinary citizen into the most powerful person in the world, the President. This is an awesome power to acquire. It is even more awesome when it is handed on peacefully. When George Washington relinquished the office of the presidency, he set a precedent that served as a beacon for other nations struggling against tyranny.”
It might also be worth noting that this bipartisan commission, formed by a government deriving its power from the consent of the governed in order to secure our rights, is relying in large part upon sworn testimony from Republicans and members of President Trump’s inner circle. This hearing has also been a profile in courage about women. Liz Cheney and Cassidy Hutchinson are being compared to Margaret Chase Smith.
White House lawyer Pat Cipollone warned that Trump would be charged with “every crime imaginable” if he were to go to the Capitol on January 6. Cipollone has been invited to either confirm or deny that account under oath.
Assured of no evidence of voter fraud by Trump campaign lawyer Alex Cannon, former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows concluded, “So there’s no there, there.”
Respected lawyer and former judge J. Michael Luttig, long a pillar in conservative legal circles, professed his loyalty to our Constitution and warned, “Donald Trump and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy,”
Requests for preemptive pardons suggest laws have been broken. Attorney John Eastman emailed his request to the White House, and Mo Brooks took the extra step of requesting “all-purpose” pardons for himself and “every Congressman and Senator who voted to reject the electoral college submission of Arizona and Pennsylvania.”
Adam Schiff also reminded us, “The system held, but barely. And the question remains, will it hold again? If we are able to communicate anything during these hearings, I hope it is this: We have been blessed beyond measure to live in the world’s greatest democracy. This is a legacy to be proud of and to cherish. But it is not one to be taken for granted.”
These are challenging times, but things may be trending in a positive direction.
Cassidy Hutchinson, a dedicated young Republican who had interned with Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) before becoming an executive assistant to former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, offered this testimony:
With evidence that the Trump administration had been warned of violence and was aware of weapons in the crowd on January 6, President Trump told officials, “You know, I really don’t care if they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags away, and let my people in.”
He then went onstage told them several times, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol.”
Trump criticized her. That was expected, but Fox News anchor Bret Baier noted, ”She’s under oath, and he’s on Truth Social.”
Let justice and our democracy prevail.
Carol Voyles is a graphic designer/illustrator who retired to the Eastern Shore and became interested in politics. She serves as communications chair for the Talbot County Democratic Forum and lives in Easton.
Federal insurrection statute, 18 U.S. Code § 2383, applies to “whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto.”
Federal seditious conspiracy statute, 18 U.S. Code § 2384, applies to persons who “by force prevent, hinder or delay the execution of any law of the United States.”
Federal perjury statute, 18 U.S. Code § 1621, finds anyone “guilty of perjury shall, except as otherwise required by law, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”