Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

Tell Me Something New At House Hearings on Jan. 6 Attack

Let me begin by saying that the House hearings on the Jan. 6, 2020, attack on the Capitol are doomed before they even begin. Americans have their minds made up and no amount of drama will change them. The real question is how did we get to this point as a nation but that is something that would really bore the average American who only wants to be left alone.
I hope that I am wrong and the House hearings beginning tonight on the Jan. 6 attack will be a watershed moment to bring to justice a president and others who plotted to overturn the election and dismantle the democratic process. And hopefully, there really is a tooth fairy.
Maybe trump will voluntarily testify, mea culpa, and explain how his upbringing jaded his reality, how he will forever be tormented by the knowledge that he nearly commandeered the defeat of democracy and how he will take all responsibility even if it means he will go to jail. All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.
A story on Fox News reported today, “At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday morning, Robert Pape of the University of Chicago laid out the problem facing Democrats heading into Thursday’s hearing. ‘Donald Trump is now more powerful because of January 6 than he would have been without January 6,’ testified Pape.” That is probably the most stunning observation I’ve seen yet, not only did trump not suffer politically from a violent, deadly attempted coup at the Capitol that was largely fueled and directed by trump. It actually helped him. Oy.
Trump is master of the big lie and the Republicans are masters at smearing as they continue claiming that the hearings are a political hatchet job and that the members are hand-picked and not to be believed or trusted. Masterful like the nine rings of Dante’s Inferno.
The headline in today’s NY Times: “Jan. 6 Hearings Will Put Trump at Center of Plot That Resulted in Capitol Riot.” Oh my god, really, I never knew that. Really, I don’t think the Times can tell me anything that hasn’t already been leaked.
Another Times headline today: “Donald Trump’s efforts began before Election Day, a sprawling scheme extending from the West Wing to the far-right fringe. Here is the chilling narrative.” I expect to be chilled about as much as if I was drinking, flat, warm Coke. It’s like expecting me to be upset by another story warning of the end of times because of global climate change. Been there, done that.
It’s not that I don’t care, because I care very much about the direction the country is headed. I just don’t think anybody can do anything to change the flow of a blisteringly fast river churning toward the falls. I mean these hearings are about a president who was impeached twice and walked away unblemished and even more popular among his Nazi, racist base. Trump called on his troops to march on the Capitol, he tried to bully Vice President Pence to call the election in favor of trump. And the majority reaction in the Senate: Acquittal at his second impeachment trial.
The high drama at the House hearings that begin today have been advertised as “promised to reveal stunning new evidence.” Like, what exactly did trump do during the capitol attack? Oh, he got texts and didn’t do much of anything to stop it, but we knew that. What did the future speaker of the house, future second in line for the presidency, tell the president that morning? Oh, yes, we know that. What members of congress were deeply involved in the conspiracy to overturn the election? Sorry, got that too.
We will hear about how House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said publicly that Trump “bears responsibility” for the violence, while privately the Republican leader was even more harsh, saying he would urge Trump to resign just days before his presidential term was to end. Oh, I knew that.
Most of us have already heard the audio of trump asking election officials in Georgia to “find” votes for him. We know that rioters were trying to disrupt the counting of Electoral College votes. We have seen reports on the text messages from Republicans and Fox pundits to trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, begging for help that didn’t come from trump on January 6.
Some people who have been in comas or living under rocks may be terribly shocked before they switch channels to watch mixed martial arts.
No spoiler alerts here because we know it all already. This would be better for a PBS special on the unraveling of democracy. Even Fox isn’t covering the hearings because they know we all know it all and everybody has made up their minds anyway and Fox would look silly televising proceedings that Tucker Carlson and the rest have painted as a Democratic witchhunt to get trump, which it is, and rightly so.
Curiously, this is the 50th anniversary of the historic Watergate hearings. And what a year it was. Let’s here it for bellbottoms and eight tracks, disco and earth shoes, mopeds and streakers and my favorite song of 1973, “Der Junge Mit Dermundharmonika” by Bernd Clüver. It was a historic year as U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War ended; the first handheld mobile phone call was made by Martin Cooper of Motorola in New York City; in the “Battle of the Sexes,” Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs; the Mets won the pennant; and most significantly, Lite Beer was introduced by the Miller Brewing Co.
They were simpler days when the Republicans didn’t cower to Nixon’s every word, fearing that it would be political suicide to oppose Tricky Dick. I remember the long sideburns and the wide ties. Without the Internet, we didn’t know the whole story before whistleblowers like John Dean testified about “a cancer on the presidency” or before Alexander Butterfield calmly explained that there were tapes of Nixon’s conversations. Today’s potential whistleblowers signed confidentiality agreements that if broken, are likely to end the person at the bottom of the Potomac. Everybody read the Washington Post for the latest revelations by Woodward and Bernstein. We knew a lot but there was so much more and we were glued to the TV sets with just a few channels, and how quaint.
People were cynical but they were downright Pollyannaish compared with today, with the denizens of dystopia and their apocalyptic vision of a world gone mad. Back then, we still had faith in the government, with a small “g” and the process seemed to be working when Nixon resigned and we saw a relatively peaceful transfer of power to one of the most boring presidents in history. But boring was good and how boring would be so welcomed today at a time when the president of the United States works in the open to sabotage the government and take over like a dictator. Give me boring.
There were actually rules of etiquette and civility unlike today when members of congress can send out memes showing another member of congress and the president being slashed to death while the president of the United States can convince millions of lemmings that the 2020 election was rigged although anybody with a brain knows that Biden won fair and square or at least pretty fair.
There was Walter Cronkite and everybody trusted Walter with the way he removed his glasses when announcing to the world that President Kennedy was dead. Wouldn’t you just love to hear Cronkite sign off with his evening catchphrase, “And that’s the way it is” and actually believe it.

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