Lady Justice Demands Her Due

Americans are supremely good at mid-course corrections. Something happens, we react, adjust, make changes. The riot in The Capitol requires much more than a mid-course correction.

Chief television critic for The New York Times James Poniewozik’s article in this morning’s paper says that the assault on The Capitol was much worse than we really know because there has been a constant trickle of new, and exponentially more horrifying, videos surfacing in its aftermath. He maintains, “The crowd that tried to mug democracy Wednesday was both cosplaying insurrection and genuinely committing it.” Things can be both “ludicrous and dangerous at the same time.”

I keep trying to zoom out, in the photographic sense, to see the bigger picture in this scenario. What I what is to figure out its true cause. Instead, I am seeing increased zoomed-in detail, almost all of which could be considered reactive mid-course correction.

Donald Trump wasn’t alone in inciting the mob. There were plenty of other inciters following the lead of the sentiments and the behaviors of the Inciter-in-Chief. All sorts of folk are calling for repercussions — consequences — to their actions. These calls are both necessary and correct.

Other federal elected officials: Marjorie Taylor Green, Lauren Boebert, Paul Gosar, Pete Sessions, Andy Biggs. The Trump legal sycophant Rudy Guiliani is likely to be disbarred. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, too. All sorts of corporations, institutions, and most importantly funders are pulling away from Donald Trump and his now-toxic legacy.

“Representative Cori Bush, Democrat of Missouri, introduced a resolution on Monday with 47 co-sponsors that would initiate investigations for ‘removal of the members who attempted to overturn the results of the election and incited a white supremacist attempted coup.’”

And what about the congresspersons who, whilst in close-contact lockdown with their peers, refused to wear masks, most likely turning the insurrection into a Covid-19 super-spreader event as well? “Representative Tom Malinowski, Democrat of New Jersey, on Monday introduced a resolution to formally censure [Senator Mo] Brooks, asserting that he was responsible for inciting the crowd and ‘endangering the lives of his fellow members of Congress.’” Did those who refused to wear masks not endanger the lives of their fellow members of Congress?

Here, from The Huffington Post, “Less than a week after a Trump-fueled mob attacked the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to hide in a secured room, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) has tested positive for COVID-19. She tweeted: ‘I just received a positive COVID-19 test result after being locked down in a secured room at the Capitol where several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one.’”

Opinion columnist Bret Stephens focused his piece this morning on Mike Pence. “Pence turned himself into the most unfailingly servile sidekick in vice-presidential history. He delivered the evangelical vote to Trump. He stood by the president at every low point, from the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape to Charlottesville, Va., to Helsinki to the Ukraine call. He indulged Trump’s fantasies about a stolen election.

“He betrayed his principles. He abased himself. Then Trump insisted that he steal the election. When Pence refused — he had no legal choice — Trump stirred the mob to go after him.”

“The Pence-Trump story is also the G.O.P.-Trump story. It’s a play in four acts: brief resistance, abject submission, complete complicity and now bitter regret.”

Where do we go from bitter regret, Beloved?

Mr. Stephens again, “You’ll hear Republicans like the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, talk about the need for healing. Fine. But this sort of healing first requires cauterizing the wound. It’s called impeachment. Republicans mustn’t shrink from it.”

Healing? Well, of course, healing. Eventually. But, honestly, isn’t it a little disingenuous to call for healing so quickly? Doesn’t it reek of the just-ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away strategy that hasn’t worked since this whole Trump phenomenon raised its decidedly ugly head?

Sorry to be so … graphic, but what about the pus? What about the infection that has, just like Covid-19, run rampant in our country? Even a middle-schooler knows that if you leave a wound to fester, it’ll get infected, and that that’s a much more serious problem.

Peter W. Singer, co-author of Like War: The Weaponization of Social Media described the tech barons who finally took action against Trump after enabling him for years as “rulers of a kingdom that abdicated their responsibility for a long time.” Well, isn’t that just it? And haven’t a whole lot of us been doing our blessed best to continue to abdicate? We can’t. Not any more. Not even for one minute.

In an article called “How White Evangelical Christians Fused With Trump Extremism,” the author writes, “A potent mix of grievance and religious fervor has turbocharged the support among Trump loyalists, many of whom describe themselves as participants in a kind of holy war.”

What? A holy war? There is video of Proud Boys praying to Jesus for the win prior to Wednesday’s assault on democracy. It cannot be. Allegedly, their behaviors are labeled as part of “Christian nativism.” What? What the hell is that? A good question, given that the U.S. has indeed been in hell since last week.

What is going on? Um, no. What is really going on?

Paul Krugman asserts that “This Putsch Was Decades in the Making,” despite the fact that “none of the rioters’ grievances had any basis in reality,” and “the rage is based on lies.”

“What’s almost as striking as the fantasies of the rioters is how few leading Republicans have been willing, despite the violence and desecration, to tell the MAGA mob that their conspiracy theories are false. And the cynicism and cowardice of leading Republicans is, I would argue, the most important cause of the nightmare now enveloping our nation.”

Now we’re getting somewhere. Cynicism — the notion that no one can ever act unselfishly. Pilot Chelsey Sullenberger anyone? Cowardice — lacking the bravery to stand for something. Mike Pence anyone? Are these two — cynicism and cowardice — what’s behind the mob last week? I don’t think so. Or, not entirely. There’s a deeper cause.

Mr. Krugman again, “For a long time Republican elites imagined that they could exploit racism and conspiracy theorizing while remaining focused on a plutocratic agenda. But with the rise first of the Tea Party, then of Donald Trump, the cynics found that the crazies were actually in control, and that they wanted to destroy democracy, not cut tax rates on capital gains.”

And those in power have refused to challenge the unreal reality television show that is the fantasy known as TrumpWorld. On Thursday, a sign in Rome read, “Donald Trump, you are the shame of democracy.” Contributing Opinion writer Ivan Krastev posits, “Trump has made America a laughingstock.”

Perhaps, from perspectives outside the U.S., but from within, no. Mr. Krastev again, “Americans will soon have a new president, but they won’t have a new country.” No, we won’t, Beloved. Not unless we insist that we make one.

Republican strategist Liz Mair notes that “the remaining days in the presidency of Donald Trump number in the single digits.” They do, but I am in full agreement with the path that the insightful Jamelle Bouie outlines this morning as the only way to healing. He writes, “There is no way past this crisis — and yes, we are living through a crisis — except through it.” This is true for all crises, no matter how big or how small.

“The best way to push forward is as aggressively as possible. Anything less sends the signal that this moment isn’t as urgent as it actually is. And as we move closer to consequences for those responsible, we should continue to ignore the cries that accountability is ‘divisive.’ Not because they’re false, but because they’re true.

“Accountability is divisive. That’s the point. If there is a faction of the Republican Party that sees democracy itself as a threat to its power and influence, then it has to be cut off from the body politic. It needs to be divided from the rest of us, lest it threaten the integrity of the American republic more than it already has. Marginalizing that faction — casting Trump and Trumpism into the ash heap of history — will be divisive, but it is the only choice we have.”

Amen, say I to that. Not only amen, but hallelujah, and this is not a mid-course correction. It is a full stop after a mid-course correction, and it is vital that we do this, that we insist upon this, because, as Mr. Bouie concludes, “The alternative is a false unity that leaves the wound of last Wednesday to fester until the infection gets even worse than it already is.” Pus, yes, a lot of pus.

James Fishman of New York writes in his Letter to Editor, “Impeaching and convicting Donald Trump now would send a very strong message that his treason will not be tolerated. But there are also some practical reasons as well.

“The Former Presidents Act says former presidents are entitled to certain benefits, but there is an exception for impeachment. So, impeachment and conviction means: No $200,000-plus lifetime pension, no $1 million annual travel expense, no medical benefits and no lifetime Secret Service protection for him or his family.

“Americans should not have to pay even a dollar to support Donald Trump after he’s out of office.” Hear, hear. The idea that even one dollar, no, one cent of my tax dollars would go toward support of this fiend makes me shake with horror.

Anyone who is thinking knows that “[t]his inauguration is going to look differently than previous inaugurations. I think we all know that,” said Michael Plati, the Secret Service special agent in charge leading security planning for the inauguration, who referred to lessons learned from last Wednesday. “Obviously, the Capitol is a significant event,” he said. “We are sensitive to that. We constantly are evaluating our security plans. There’s always lessons that can be learned after an event of that nature.”

Perhaps there are security lessons to be learned, and I, for one, am grateful that Special Agent Plati is willing to learn them, but as he says, “There’s always lessons that can be learned after an event of that nature.”

W. Ralph Basham is a former director of the Secret Service. He remarked, “I heard somebody say law and order for the Blacks and protect and serve for the whites. You can’t have that. You can’t have that.” Finally, Beloved, we come down to it, what’s at the core of the wave of disingenuousness that has afflicted the Republican Party, and thereby infected our republic and the democratic principles for which it stands. Let’s name it for what it is, shall we?

Systemic racial inequality.

Until we address that, the core of the lies, the rage, the mob, there is no healing on the menu. Only a delay until the next mob.

Mr. Basham continued, “You have to administer justice equally across the board.” The board, the aisle, the ethnicity, the race, the land, the country. Blind Lady Justice is finally demanding her due. We cannot possibly give her any less.

Dr. Susan Corso is a spiritual teacher, the founder of iAmpersand, and the author of The Mex Mysteries, the Boots & Boas Books, and spiritual nonfiction. Her essays address the intersection between spirituality and culture. Find out more at www.susancorso.com

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Susan Corso

Susan Corso

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Dr. Susan Corso a metaphysician with a private counseling practice for 40+ years. She has written too many books to list here. Her website is www.susancorso.com