The world’s oldest constitutional democracy just wobbled. Wednesday’s insurrection at the Capitol was a brief and sobering interlude that showed the world just how tenuous the institution of the United States of America really is. When I see the words “insurrection” and “Capitol” together, I first think of a dastardly plot hatched by those who wish to see personal freedom and the ideal of self-governance end. But it was nothing so insidious. It was the culmination of a two-month-long tantrum pitched by a heedless, imprudent fool who can think of nothing but himself: President Donald Trump. It was simply a selfish man demanding attention and posting volumes of falsehoods to make enough people believe their election had been stolen, with absolutely no evidence of the fact (61 of 62 lawsuits filed as of this writing have been dismissed or denied; recounts only yielded 2,343 additional votes).
President Trump was aided and abetted by two other men with egos and ambition who want his job in 2024: Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. These members of the GOP caucus led the inane, doomed and seditious challenge to the Electoral College ratification on Wednesday. Both men are Ivy League law school graduates who clerked for Supreme Court justices; they should clearly know better. But if Trump could raise half a billion dollars in six weeks via his “Legal Defense Fund” to “overturn” the election, who could resist jumping on that cash bandwagon? It’s only individual voters’ money that never has to be paid back, you know. What a racket!
This selfishness, this egotism, and this foolishness combined to form the most unserious grounds imaginable to commit one of the most serious wrongs to our Constitution the nation has seen. What a waste of time, money and lives. What a waste of trust and prestige. All for three small, unserious men to play political games.
Trump, Hawley and Cruz will be remembered as the three authors of the January 6 insurrection, but 146 additional Republican members of Congress opted to object to Electoral College votes in at least one state when Congress reconvened after the insurrection in which four people died, missing a tremendous opportunity to correct a terrible wrong. Shame on them.
Losers of presidential elections have taken it badly in the past. John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams, opted not to attend the inaugurations of the men who beat them. Vice-President Hubert Humphrey declined to preside over the Senate in January 1969 to certify the election of Richard Nixon. Those are just a few examples of powerful men taking a loss hard.
But those are only bruised egos. President Trump’s two-month tantrum-turned-meltdown has further divided a polarized nation, compromised national security, slowed pandemic response, and gone so far as to put the foundation of our nation itself in jeopardy. Four people are dead after Wednesday’s insurrection. Thousands of men and women still believe their votes were stolen because greedy fools like Trump, Hawley and Cruz will say anything to gain or stay in power. And white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys, which the Department of Homeland Security continues to list as the number one terrorist threat to the U.S., seem to think they have a home with the Trump Republican Party.
Whether it’s a President tweeting support messages to home-grown terrorists, or former Supreme Court law clerks attempting sedition in Congress, it’s time to clean house and clear the decks, GOP. For a party that trumpets Constitutional orthodoxy with every campaign mailer, you look pretty foolish right now.