Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The Demands of Justice

On January 6, 2021, for the first time in American history, a sitting president of the United States committed sedition by publicly inciting his most rabid followers to invade the US Capitol Building, where Congress was performing its Constitutionally mandated duty of certifying the electoral votes. His goal was to have them halt that process and overturn the free and fair election that he lost in a landslide, in the vague hope that this would somehow keep him in power. This is an act that meets every legal definition of a coup.

The insurrectionist mob followed his direction precisely, though in the end they did not succeed in their larger goal.

They did, however, break into the Capitol, murder a police officer, and at least temporarily bring the peaceful transition of power to a halt for the first time in American history.

Every single person who invaded the Capitol that day is guilty of felony murder, insurrection, and treason. There are very clearly defined penalties in American law for each of these offenses, and justice demands that every single person who invaded the Capitol that day be subjected to them, without exception, without amelioration, and without delay.

But justice cannot stop there.

This treasonous mob took its direction from the top, and Donald Trump must face the consequences of his open rebellion against the United States of America.

The House of Representatives started the process, voting to impeach him for an unprecedented second time in the most bipartisan impeachment vote ever conducted in American history. The fact that ANY Republicans voted against this impeachment when mere days earlier they were hiding in their offices while frenzied hordes of insurrectionists were baying for their blood is a true testament to cowardice and the blindness of ideological fanaticism. They will be remembered in the same space as Phillipe Pétain, Vidkun Quisling, and the rest of the shameful list of those who collaborated with Fascism. They will be reviled by American patriots, their memories will be a burden to their descendants, and their lives will serve a warning to others about the dangers of cults masquerading as political parties.

Today the United States Senate takes up the impeachment and begins the trial of Donald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors against the United States.

This trial is necessary and appropriate, and if there is any justice left in this country it will result in a swift conviction, after which Trump can be turned over to the judicial system for criminal prosecution.

There are very clearly defined penalties in American law for sedition, after all.

As every responsible Constitutional scholar across the political spectrum has pointed out, the Founding Fathers did not conceive of impeachment as a process that ended when the impeached left office, voluntarily or otherwise. So long as the impeachment was properly done, as this was – Trump was impeached while in office, by the appointed Constitutional body, under proper procedures – the Senate has the power to try him. There is no get out of jail free card for people who leave office after committing high crimes.

The fact that nearly all of the Republican delegation to the Senate – a delegation that represents more than forty-one million fewer Americans than the Democratic delegation despite being equal in number with them, it must be pointed out – thinks that mere resignation or expiry of term is a legitimate excuse to avoid prosecution for sedition is a damning indictment of their morality, their patriotism, and their intelligence. It also speaks volumes about their collective cowardice in refusing to face squarely the grave charges levied against their party leader, preferring instead to hide behind transparently ridiculous evasions in the fond hopes that Americans will be too stupid or partisan to notice.

Those Senators too will be remembered with Pétain and Quisling, for exactly the same reason.

The evidence is overwhelming and publicly available. Death penalty cases have produced convictions with far less compelling evidence, and every day more damning information comes to light.

The only question now is whether the Republican Party has enough people in it who respect the law, honor the Constitution, and understand the perils of allowing a coup attempt to go unpunished. Given that party’s steady march toward overt Fascism in the last few years and its slavish devotion to the cult of Donald Trump, I am not holding my breath.

“A republic, if you can keep it,” said Benjamin Franklin when the Constitution was written.

This month we’ll get to see whether we can.

Justice demands that Donald Trump be tried in the Senate for his crimes. Justice demands that he be convicted and barred from ever seeking office again. Justice demands that he then be turned over to the criminal courts for trial and sentencing for his attempted coup against the United States of America.

There is nothing inevitable about justice. Nothing good happens on its own. We either deliver justice where it is needed or we suffer the consequences as a nation and a people. A coup attempt that goes unpunished is just a dress rehearsal, after all.

Justice has made its demands.

Let it be done.


LucyInDisguise said...

I’m rather em-bare-assed to admit that I’d forgotten about Quisling. Had to go a-Wiki-ing for a few minutes there to refresh my memory …Ugh.

My wife has become an immovable object in front of the TV today - utterly enchanted(?), bewitched(?), fascinated(?), beguiled(?), entranced(?), enraptured(?), delighted(?), (Sigh. Deep Thesaurus Dive) enthralled(!) with the beginning of the impeachment trial. Attempt to distract her at your peril.

My prediction? I think that the vote is going to come up short by just enough votes that they will fail to convict.

Justice, I fear, may have become the blind version of the Unicorn.

I’d pray, if I thought it would do any good. Instead I’ll leave that to more experienced practitioners of the art in the misguided hope that they will prove me wrong.

Is it really only Tuesday?


David said...

I'm afraid you're going to be right in your prediction, and I have no idea what will happen next. Nothing good, I suspect.

I'm avoiding the television broadcasts, as I find that I have no control over my time when watching them, but I'm consuming vast amounts of written news - transcripts, articles, documents (some of which will no doubt end up in my history classes, so long as we're still teaching classes in a year or two), analysis. Sigh.

One of my favorite memes of the year so far has Shrek shouting at Donkey: "Can we just not have another history-making event? FOR FIVE MINUTES?" I hear you, Shrek, I really do.

LucyInDisguise said...

Okay, then! time for another "Memes of the fruph-era" post!


David said...

I should do that, actually - they're piling up around here...

LucyInDisguise said...

Oh, and try not to be afraid. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is for children.

Be like me and go for full-blown-all-out-ax-strangler terror and beat the rush.


David said...



I say let them be afraid of me.

Unknown said...

And why aren't you writing speeches for the prosecution? You may have missed your calling..

David said...

Well, nobody's ever asked. :)


LucyInDisguise said...

Well I, for one, would love to hear that ... so consider yourself asked!


David said...

I suspect the prosecution has its speeches for the moment, so perhaps I will just add my own from the sidelines.

As I do anyway. ;)

LucyInDisguise said...

Better than I anticipated, but it Wasn't. Even. Close.


LucyInDisguise said...

Almost forgot:

Wishing you and your family a hippy and virus free Wowendtimes Day!

Lucy & the Viking

David said...

And to you and your Viking as well! :)

We had a lovely Valentine's Lunch here at home, keeping warm (it's currently -1F as I type) and generally laying low. I hope you had a similarly lovely day!


The vast majority of the Republican Party has now openly thrown its support to sedition, insurrection, and treason, and ALL Americans need to treat it accordingly.

LucyInDisguise said...

Little known fact: I started life in a Republican State (Utah) in a fundamentally Republican family. I initially registered as a Republican, and I voted as a Republican the very first time I cast a ballot in 1972.

After that, I did what my parental units taught me to do: Become informed, become observant, and work to elect the best qualified candidate possible.

I’ve only voted for two Republicans in my life (the first one resigned in disgrace). I never “switched” to a ‘different party’; I became a centrist independent voter. I’ve found that I usually vote along side Democrats, but there have been a few protest votes along the way as well. I suppose, were you & I to spend a few hours in political discussion, you would probably characterize me as just a fraction of a fraction of about three decimal points to the right of dead-assessed center. There are still a few things that I believe the government should not be involved in, but overall I’m much more progressive than conservative. However, my starting point will always be what I refer to as “Old Guard Republican” (the Actual Party of Lincoln).

My point: there are a significant number of people who identify as Republican who have watched in horror since the Republican Party started its slow, inexorable decent into madness - powerless to do anything about it because only the rich and corrupt can ascend to leadership in the parody of itself that the rethuglican party has become.

I was born and raised in a Conservative state and therefore have a significant number of Conservative friends and acquaintances. They are embarrassed to call themselves rethuglicans so they’ve (almost) all resorted to being independent voters.

The radical right-wing assholes in the news make up a rather insignificant percentage of Conservative Voters in this country. The rest either blindly vote the party line (much to their collective shame) or should be abandoning the party in droves after this latest offense against the Constitution. Those who remain, who still identify as rethuglican after yesterday, deserve what ever History will say of them.

Damn it, we need a strong conservative party in this country! We need a party that can rein in the extreme left to keep the Democratic Party in check and prevent that party from becoming the diametrically opposite of the Republican Party. A swing of the pendulum in that manner won’t be any better, and would probably destroy what is left of our nation.

And, as an aside, I should like to observe that prayer still doesn’t work. (Wish in one hand, shit in the other - one hand will fill up considerably faster.)

There yet remains substantial work to be done in this country. The People need to get off their collective asses and fix this mess. Now is the time for all good [citizens] to come to the aid of their Party.

The Grand Experiment continues - for now …


David said...

There was a time in my life when I was a pretty independent voter. My mom is a Democrat and my dad was a Republican and I was raised to think for myself. I grew up in an area where “Republican” meant the Eisenhower/Rockefeller wing of the party and found such people generally fine. I cast my first ballot in 1984, and never voted a straight ticket in any election until 2008 (nor did I pick a winning candidate for any office at any level from any party until 1991, but that’s another story).

But eventually the GOP’s hard right turn into radical extremism pushed out all of the folks whom I could support – even my dad, who had voted for Goldwater in 1964, stopped supporting the GOP in the late 1990s (“Those bastards stole my party,” he often complained). If I have a political affiliation these days it is “Not The GOP.” I will not vote for any member of that party for any office. Whether this means supporting Democrats is another issue.

These days I seem to be considered to be a leftist – not because I have changed my positions all that much since my independent days in the mid-1980s, but because the whole country has lurched so far into right-wing insanity since 1992 that anyone to the left of George W. Bush is viewed as the second coming of Karl Marx. It would be comical if it weren’t so grotesque.

While I am perfectly happy to affirm that there are good people with conservative political views – I know this first-hand, after all – I do not accept that there are good people who support the current Republican Party. Right now the GOP stands for sedition, insurrection, corruption, and overt neo-Fascism (when the founder of the Heritage Society, one of the most conservative groups in America, openly described Trump and his supporters as Fascists, the debate over that term ended). Good people do not support this, by definition.

If they were really horrified they’d be doing something. Reforming. Arguing. Walking away. Something. You are what you do when it matters. Not what you say. Not what you think. What you do. And as long as they continue to support what the GOP has become, they are not good people.

We do need a strong conservative party. Conservatives serve the useful function of putting brakes on the undirected enthusiasms of liberals, even as liberals serve the useful function of dragging conservatives out of their caves and into the future. The two sides need each other.

The problem is that we haven’t had a responsible, grown-up conservative political party in over a quarter of a century now, unless you count the Obama Democrats. The dirty little secret of modern American politics is that by any rational post-WWII standard Barack Obama was a moderate conservative. Throw an army uniform on the man and there is precious little daylight between him and Eisenhower.

I don’t hate conservatives. I disagree with them on many issues – often strongly. This is not the same thing. I would gladly welcome a conservative party that I could disagree with and still respect. We had one of those not all that long ago – well within my voting lifetime – and we need one again.

LucyInDisguise said...

This is the easiest response to something you've said that I've ever had the pleasure of making:

I also remember I time when I would have been considered a raging liberal. These are, indeed, strange times.

WE stand together, You & I.

Yes, we do ...


David said...

It's good to stand with you, Lucy.

It really is.