My Turn: Making the case


Published: 2/12/2021 3:35:00 PM

The House impeachment managers have prepared a compelling argument for conviction, one designed to draw the attention of senators who directly experienced harm by a mob of thousands, armed with all manner of threatening objects, including zip ties, baseball bats, knives, and an assembled gallows with a dangling noose. to experience through heretofore unseen video and police communications the direct danger to the lives of members of Congress that occurred on Jan. 6.

On Feb. 10, I was drawn in by formation that was new. It was compelling theater. Only those senator-jurors who have made up their minds that they won’t be confused by the evidence presented, like Cruz, Hawley, and Johnson, could fail to have been moved.

Made clear was that members of the mob intended to murder Vice President Pence, because he had not blocked certification of the election of President Biden, and stab to death House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi. A number of intruders vociferously admitted that intent, and only the strategies and efforts of police prevented such a national tragedy. For safety, members who might have been victims had stripped off their IDs and were hiding in small rooms. We see Pence scurrying down a stairway with his family, senators running for their lives, Senate Majority leader Schumer running one way, then threatened by the mob, racing in the other direction.

Trump had the sole (and responsible) power to stop what was going on, but his aides, even his daughter, are recorded as saying he was enjoying watching this insurrection play out on TV. Over and over was demonstrated the step-by-step construction by Trump of the lie that the only way he could lose the 2020 election was by it being stolen. And as presenter Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, quoted, “A lie can travel half way around the world before the truth can put on its shoes.” Absent any evident electoral mischief, Trump’s months of repeated lies had convinced rioters they needed to organize and come to Washington in support of his claims to the presidency - one we know he intended to keep as dictator.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-California, detailed the manner in which, for months, Trump solicited contributions. and turned these into ads promoting the lie he had been cheated, that he had actually won the election. It was at this point that Fox News stopped their coverage of the trial.

House managers assaulted the main defense expected from Trump lawyers, that the defendant was only engaging in free speech, addressed in the Constitution’ s First Amendment. Trump summoned the mob. Trump’s violation of free speech “was not like shouting fire in a crowded theater. He struck the match.”

Delegate Stacey Plaskett, D-Virgin Islands, reminded those gathered what courageous choice looks like, reminding senators of the actions of rebelling passengers on 9/11, who sacrificed their lives for the greater good by forcing Flight 93 down in Shanksville, PA. It was 30 minutes from its assumed target, the Capitol. She tasked senators to imagine the loss of life of members of Congress and their staffs. Plaskett reminded senators again, a rioter had asked, “Where do they count the votes?” This while others near chanted, “Hang Mike Pence.” Well we know, mob rage blocks individual reason, resulting in actions.

An MSNBC host later defined Donald Trump. “This is a man who summoned a mob to kill his vice president.”

As the riot was winding down, Trump summarized, “This is what happens when a landmark victory is taken away.” He went on to thank the mob. The majority of Republican senators remain primed to acquit, saying, “It’s time to move on.”

In the evening, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson presented his version of the day’s events, with some idle accusations thrown in, namely that the terrible event of Jan. 6 is being used by Democrats in a partisan way to enhance their power, and, peripherally, that Sen. Schumer was accused of racism in Brooklyn in 1974, Maxine Waters was once a member of the Black Panthers, and that George Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose.

My personal note: our democracy requires opposing parties — a dialog about governing. The fascist Trumpians can’t be one of them.

It is as if a plane, ineptly piloted by Trump has crashed into the sea, Trump’s hand is on the tiller of a raft, and true dopes Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Ron Johnson and others are in the deep, swimming while pushing the raft toward an unknown shore.

Charlemont resident Carl Doerner is an author and historian currently at work on a re-examination of and challenge to the “American narrative.”


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