In the dismal aftermath of the latest impeachment trial, when Republicans failed once again to grow spines and rid themselves of the albatross known as Donald J. Trump, I remain more confused than ever.
Apparently, the august body of the GOP voted for the former president’s acquittal because they did not want to offend Trump or Trump’s base, the same baseless base also-known-as the blood-thirsty mob that stormed the Capitol, caused numerous deaths and injuries, and threatened the very lives of senators, House members, and the vice president. If that makes sense to you then I recommend you immediately quit your job and launch a fiction-writing career. Better yet, try science fiction.
As I watched the shocking video footage of the insurrectionists, I could not get over the murderous looks in the rioters’ eyes; their frightening chants of “Hang Pence!” and “Where are you, Nancy? We’re looking for you, Nancy!”
That particular taunt directed at Speaker Nancy Pelosi reminded me of the 1962 version of Cape Fear when Max Cady (Robert Mitchum) was stalking the family of Sam Bowden (Gregory Peck). “Come out, come out, wherever you are.”
Nasty Bunch of Seditionists
Senators Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, and basically the entire Republican caucus had championed that base for the past four years and had perpetuated the Big Lie that the election had been stolen from Trump in favor of Joe Biden.
On January 6, those wide-eyed dead-enders set up makeshift gallows outside the Capitol. Does anyone not believe that the mob would have lynched whoever they had captured in the halls of the Capitol? As 140 injured police officers will attest — some of whom are permanently physically and emotionally, and two who have since committed suicide — this nasty bunch of seditionists was primed for the kind of brutal violence that often infects crazed mobs. (For reference, read Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery.)
Here is another question that plagues me: if, in fact, the loyal Republican supporters of Trump’s red hat ladies and gents really wanted to show their everlasting devotion and, thus, grow their number of loyalists, why did the senators not climb out of their hidey-holes on that fateful day and cheer the mob face-to-face? OK, perhaps not cheer exactly, but how about at least saying, “Hey friends, did you receive my latest fund-raising letter? You know, the one I sent an hour ago?”
As captured forever on tape, Senator Hawley earlier in the day did salute his beloved constituents, his “Stop the Steal” cohorts, with a passionate fist pump as he scurried into the Capitol to eventually cast his vote against certifying President Biden’s legitimate and landslide victory.
So, I reckon we can give ole Josh a pass. But what about his brethren? Hello Ted Cruz? I mean, it’s not like I’m asking the Texas senator or any of his pals to have had the courage to join forces with the heroic officer Eugene Goodman and the Capitol police to order the maddening crowd to disperse, or, god forbid, use their bodies to block the entrances. We all know that isn’t part of a Congressman’s sworn duty.
Wait, I vaguely recall something about an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”
Perhaps this is now an optional oath? Besides, why honor those words if the leader of your party, the president, was also not paying attention to that antiquated oath, and instead, was watching the riot from his safe space with apparent glee and probably a Diet Coke.
Perhaps I’m thinking too logically. Back to the relevant matter at hand: what I truly believe was a missed opportunity for Republicans to shore up their constituent base and perhaps solidify their chance to win back the House and Senate in 2022. With tens of thousands of their admirers in town, or, more accurately, massing directly outside their office doors on that fateful January afternoon, what kept them from doing a basic meet-and-greet? Maybe even fire up the Keurig and break out a box of Krispy Kremes? Converse about overturning Obamacare?
So I remain perplexed, but after the vote to acquit Trump one thing is now clear. I realize I did not set the bar low enough to accommodate these Senate Republicans. Because no matter how low you set that bar snakes can still slither under it on their bellies.Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The Globe Post.