Nobody cares. Nobody is watching.
We hear it these days from too many supporters of the former President of the United States, a set intent on discrediting the proceedings of the Jan. 6 committee as a “partisan” witch hunt.
Many who have flung that accusation to the winds admit they haven’t tuned in — indeed have no intention of doing so. To them, the hearings are all a big, fat nothing, a farcical show meant only to score political points for Democrats. These folks do not care.
Well, I care. And so should they.
Like many others, I have been watching and listening with a rising alarm that has nothing to do with partisan politics, and everything to do with the possibility that our cherished way of life and our long institutions may not live on.
What I’ve learned by paying attention to the gleanings of the committee’s thousands of pages of documents and the testimony of insiders — among them many loyal followers of the former president — is that any claim that sneers at the findings as “old news” is the rankest sort of BS.
As William Faulkner once said: History is not was; history is.
This menace has not passed. Indeed, the people that continue to defend the former president in the very teeth of the mounting evidence of wrongdoing against him are out there, in great numbers, and they are determined to see him in office again.
I fear that if the former president runs again in 2024, and the contest is tight, the nation into which I was born and which I love would not easily survive — indeed, it could devolve into anarchy and bleeding civil war.
I hope I am wrong.
I write here as a United States citizen, born in 1962 in Washington state in Auburn General Hospital. This is the land of my grandparents, and of my own parents, now at peace in the Mountainview Cemetery. Between them lies my late brother, gone 47 years from this world, never forgotten. It was his nation, also.
Every four years from its founding, this nation has held free elections to choose among candidates a person to lead the executive branch of the federal government. The peaceful transition of power that has always followed has been the norm in this world. It is a wonder. It marks us out.
I do not wish to see another such crowd, whipped into a frenzy to undo the results of an election, in this instance, as the committee has demonstrated, by the person who lost that election, simply because, pathologically, he cannot admit to losing at anything.
Even though evidence indicates he did know he had lost, yet continued to egg people on with what he knew to be a falsehood.
So, as an American citizen, I do not support, cannot ever support, anyone, left or right, who uses as a spear any pole that carries the flag of my nation to attack police officers or anyone else, just as I cannot cheer on anyone who burns that flag. Generations of veterans fought, bled and died defending that flag and what it represents.
In the same vein, I want to see none of the people who tried to topple this nation, either overtly in the crowd that day, or tacitly as lawmakers working behind the scenes, once more try to meld into the July 4 crowd as patriotic Americans honoring that same flag they spat on. As far as I’m concerned, those Quislings have lost that right.
As an American citizen, I never want to see anyone ever again using the U.S. Capitol building of my nation as a toilet.
As an American citizen, I do not want to see any more of the people who loudly proclaim themselves defenders of the police to turn on them, as I saw on Jan. 6, 2021.
I do not want to see the nation of my birth devolve into anarchy, slide into civil war. Civil wars are terrible, brutal affairs in which hundreds of thousands die, even millions die, leaving a legacy of hatred that spans generations.
And for what?
For claims that no investigation, no court in the land has substantiated?
Yet the claims persist, enabling a man who, should he lose at anything, insists, basically, that the cosmos would have to be out of balance — and it isn’t, so fraud would have to be involved.
That pathology is spreading. We are already hearing of candidates for office this fall who claim that should they lose, they will cry fraud, too. I am afraid we may have seen our last free elections.
To return to an earlier point, the Jan. 6 committee has interviewed more than 1,000 people, some with inside knowledge. It has in its possession thousands of pages of documentation. That sort of accumulation of damning facts would once have mattered.
Yet some claim it’s all been cooked up.
It seems to me that continuing to believe it’s all fake takes a mighty leap of faith. All of those American citizens, among them, dyed-in-the-wool Republicans, engaged in a massive plot? All of them in connivance?
Not bloody likely. And recognizing the improbability of such a thing does not make me a partisan anything.
It makes me an American citizen, with eyes to see and ears to hear.
Robert Whale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.