by James M. Flammang

"Trump incites mob"

Who could ever have imagined such a headline on the front page of The New York Times? But there it was, in large type, in the January 7, 2021 edition of the legendary newspaper.

Across the country and the world, similar words were used to describe, succinctly, the deplorable actions and statements from Donald Trump a day earlier, as Congress began the process of certifying votes from the Electoral College. At a morning rally, the president implored his enraged army to head for the Capitol building and forcefully pursue their fevered dream of overturning the election in Trump's favor. Upon their arrival, the boldest of his supporters led a charge toward the Capitol, scampering up the steps, breaking windows to gain entry. Once inside, they roamed the halls, vandalized some legislators' offices, took selfies of themselves engaged in acts of desecration – while legislators were quickly herded out of the Chamber and into safe locations.

This is America? No, this is Trumpland, where the activities of January 6, 2021 have been variously deplored as "insurrection" (by Mitt Romney, among others) or an attempted "coup." Eventually, significant numbers of Republican officials – but far from all – denounced their president for his monstrous behavior. In contrast, the Republican National Committee called the violent incident "legitimate political discourse."

Where had they been all this time? Anyone, apart from Trump acolytes, who's been paying attention since 2016 could easily have predicted an assault on democracy. Implicitly endorsed if not instigated by the president himself, it was a virtual certainty somewhere along the timeline of his term.

A Quartet of Disgraceful Acts

On September 11, the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Donald Trump turned up at a Florida casino to deliver ringside commentary on a pay-per-view boxing match. What could possibly be more disrespectful to the thousands who died? How about his venomous verbal assault on Colin Powell, following the widely admired former top general and diplomat's death on October 18. October 21: Nine House Republicans joined all Democrats to charge former top Trump advisor Steve Bannon with criminal contempt of Congress. Bannon had refused to comply with a subpoena. Meanwhile, the former president claimed that the real insurrection took place on November 3 (Election Day), and the January 6 assault was the "protest." October 29: After Rep. Adam Kinziger (R-Ill.), one of 10 House Republicans who'd voted to impeach Trump, announced that he will not run for re-election, the former president warned: "Two down, eight to go."

Trump continues to draw sizable crowds to rallies that push his "big lie" about a stolen election. Resolution of the partisan "audit" in Arizona in early fall, affirming Biden's election, failed to restrain the former president. Additional Republican-governed states have initiated comparable legal proceedings, challenging the 2020 results.

Watch Out for Marjorie!

NO, NO, NO! A U.S. Representative who nods at the notion of shooting top officials should not be allowed anywhere near Congress. If American democracy is to have any chance at survival, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), the ardent backer of dangerously depraved, reality-deprived QAnon conspiracy theories, must be expelled.

Contrary to feeble or absent responses from nearly all Republicans, there is no middle ground. This Is Wrong. The D.C. Capitol Insurrection was Wrong. Period. If You Can't See That, What In Blazes Is Wrong With You?!

Speaking in Alabama, Rep. Greene congratulated the crowd for its low vaccination rate. According to CNN, she also suggested that government volunteers who knock on a door to promote vaccination be greeted by a resident with gun in hand.

Trump Goes Too Far in Push to Overturn Election

Of all the Trump outrages over the past four years, his phone talk with Georgia's Secretary of State easily ranks as the worst. That's when he asked the Secretary to "find" just enough Trump votes to make him the victor. To further promote his utterly baseless allegations of voter fraud, he demanded that a major state official commit a criminal act. He even went so far as to threaten that official if he declined to follow the order of the "president," suggesting that refusal would amount to a "criminal response."

Worse yet, a shocking number of shamefully complicit Congresspersons (more than 140 Representatives and a dozen Senators) backed this venomous behavior, which easily deserves to be be deemed seditious, if not treasonous. Their names need to go on record for future historians, as those scholars struggle to understand how such a travesty could ever have occurred in a country long viewed as a pinnacle of democracy.

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