SAY WHAT? - A year after a mob of delusional, autocrat-loving thugs tried to overthrow our admittedly flawed and fragile democracy, Joe Biden gave a fiery speech denouncing "the defeated former president" - "You can't love your country only when you win" - andasking, "Are we going to be a nation that lives not by the light of the truth but in the shadow of lies?" An excellent question for those of us witnessing the ongoing, increasingly unhinged onslaught of revisionist lies and crimes and stonewalling underway, alarmingly encouraged by millions in large part because, "To the privileged, equality feels like oppression." In response to the madness, A.G. Merrick Garland assured the country, the wheels of justice are slowly and creakily turning: The DOJ has issued over 5,000 subpoenas or search warrants, seized about 2,000 devices, watched 20,000-plus hours of video, and arrested and charged over 725 defendants. To those frustrated by the slow and creaking part, he offered a reality check: Large investigations take time, typically starting with gathering the evidence and low-hanging fruit - ie: rioters - before moving on to their evil masters. Justice, he said, will hold "all perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law," and "follow the facts wherever they lead."
These days, they often lead to those in power doggedly clinging to alternative facts; for now they're happily (if slightly) outnumbered by those with feet firmly planted on Planet Earth: "You come at the king, you best not miss." Among them is New Jersey's Korean-American Rep. Andy Kim, who went back to the Rotunda Jan. 7 to help clean up "the room I love." In 2018, Kim became the first Asian-American to represent his state in Congress, flipping a largely white district - "the vast majority of people do not look like me" - that voted for Trump in both 2016 and 2020. He calls his re-election, after voting to impeach Trump, "a beautiful thing": "We're all Americans." On Jan. 6, Kim took notes as his GOP colleagues decried a "criminal," "shameful," "unacceptable," "un-democratic" attack on the Republic; then, over time, they gutlessly fell into silence, or deceit, or outright complicity before the fabrications. "They told the truth then," hesays. "Why won't they now?" With lies still swirling, he insists, "Let’s not let them forget." Mike Fanon, the Capitol cop most seriously injured by rioters, likewise argues, "There needs to be a reckoning." After the riot, he described his experience in interviews - how the mob dragged, stabbed and tased him, later causing a heart attack; how he thought he'd die; how some rioters finally urged others to let him go. What would he say, he was asked, to those who possibly saved his life that day? "Like, thank you," he said. "But fuck you for being there."
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." - Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)
For the record, Andy Kim kept receipts:
Mitch McConnell on Jan 6: "Trump’s actions preceding the riot were a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty...The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people...They tried to disrupt our democracy - they failed...There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.”
Kevin McCarthy on Jan 6: "The violence, destruction, and chaos (was) unacceptable, un-democratic and criminal. We saw the worst of America this afternoon.”
Kevin McCarthy on Jan 13: "Those who are responsible for Wednesday’s chaos will be brought to justice...The President bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters.”
VP Pence on Jan 6: “Today was a dark day in the history of the United States capitol…To those who wreaked havoc today, you did not win.”
Rep. Steve Scalise (R) on Jan 6: “Once you start taking violent actions against law enforcement you’re not a protestor anymore, you are an anarchist... They were trying (to) stop our democracy from working.”
Rep Stefanik (R) on Jan 6: “This has been a truly tragic day for America...We all join together in fully condemning the dangerous violence and destruction…(which) must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Mike Gallagher (R) on Jan 6: “Mr. President, the election is over. Call it off. This is bigger than you. It is bigger than any member of Congress. It is about the United States of America.”
Senator Lindsey Graham on Jan 7: “When it comes to accountability, the president needs to understand that his actions were the problem not the solution”
Rep Chip Roy (R) on Jan 6: “Today the people’s house was attacked, which is an attack on the republic itself…People need to go to jail…The president should never have spun up certain Americans to believe something that simply cannot be.”
Senator Thune (R) on Jan 6: “The types of people who stormed the Capitol today (will) not stop our democracy from moving forward…This kind of thuggery would not keep us from doing the people’s work”
Rep Dan Crenshaw (R) on Jan 7: "(The mob) was a display not of patriotism but of frenzy and anarchy.“
Senator Ben Sasse (R) on Jan 6: “This building has been desecrated, blood has been spilled in the hallways...What happened today isn’t what America is...(These were people) who are trying to burn it all down."
Senator Rob Portman (R) on Jan 6: “I condemn the violent and criminal acts that took place...These shameful actions...should never happen in our great republic.”
Senator Roy Blunt (R) on Jan 6: “The events unfolding at the Capitol are shameful. There is no justification for violence and destruction. It has to stop now. This is not who we are as a nation."
Senator Blackburn (R) on Jan 6: “These actions by protestors are truly despicable and unacceptable."
Senator Rubio on Jan 6: “There is nothing patriotic about what is occurring on Capitol Hill. This is third-world-style anti-American anarchy.”
Senator Rick Scott (R) on Jan 6: “No one has a right to commit violence. What happened today at the Capitol (is) not what this country stands for.”
Senator Cynthia Lummis (R) on Jan 6: “Call it what it is: An attack on the Capitol is an attack on democracy”
(Abby Zimet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues.)