ACCORDING TO LIZ - The Setup. A number of years ago, a joke circulated about a wealthy American who, on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, commissioned a mural to commemorate Custer’s last thoughts before his death.
Months later the completed mural was unveiled. It depicted a field full of peaceful Indians picking cotton under blue skies with a few puffy white clouds. To the right, a contented cow grazed in a green field with a golden halo on her head, and below was a red devil imp with the traditional horns and pointed tail.
Naturally, the man who commissioned the mural was incensed. “What does this all mean?!” he sputtered.
The artist pointed out that the request was for Custer’s last thoughts.
Which probably went something like: “Holy cow! Where the devil did all these cotton-picking Indians come
That Trump was shocked by the loss of the election was no surprise – his ego has never allowed him to see beyond his immediate personal desires.
Or to hear anything except what he wanted to hear.
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ ears.
Trump did hear the truth. He heard it from many people close to him as well as opponents and presumably non-partisan members of the government.
And he chose not to listen. Or, more accurately, chose to listen to folks like Rudy Giuliani who was reportedly more than a little inebriated on the night of November 3rd and happy to lie since he no longer has his toupée to catch his gaffes.
Trump as Pied Piper has assembled a congregation of crazies ranging from the neo-fascist Proud Boys to the wife of a Supreme Court justice. Many if not all are living in a parallel universe from reality and mirror their supreme leader’s disregard for both truth and probity.
Ginni Thomas not only posted about “stopping the steal” on MAGA message boards, she also lobbied Republican lawmakers in Arizona on two separate occasions to violate the Electoral Count Act by unilaterally creating a pro-Trump slate of electors.
Arizona state law requires that its presidential electors cast their electoral college ballots for the candidate for president who jointly received the highest number of votes in the state. Thomas wanted these Arizona Republicans to depose the duly appointed presidential electors and replace them with Trump true believers.
That goes beyond whitewashing, this is coup talk.
Although there were many indications even early in his campaign that Trump did not plan to go gentle into any good night, it was only when firmly confronted with the truth of losing the election that la Donald chose to rave and rage, causing the first domino to fall in the chain of events that led to the January 6th insurrection.
In a chain of events that did not culminate then, but is still continuing today with every candidate Trump supports, with every bit of blather from Tucker Carlson, with every repetition of the Big Lie as if it’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Whereas George Custer made strategic errors from the start of his campaign, with piss-poor planning, inadequate reconnaissance and obdurate refusal to listen to advisors which led to his suffering ignominious defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, he did not have to face the consequences of his hubris.
Instead, aided by a U.S. Cavalry administration that wished to preserve its own image of invincibility, Custer’s widow spent decades burnishing her husband’s image with lies and half-truths concocted far from the battlefield to ensure Custer would remain a heroic figure in U.S. history. And ramping up the image of native Americans as violent savages, a gross wrong that did not start to retreat until a century later.
In this time of the hyper-communication on Twitter and Facebook, Trump was able to whip up his sycophantic followers, those who ranged from the bat-shit crazy to those who simply wanted to blame others for their personal failings, by demonizing those he perceived as his and their enemies.
Almost a year and a half later, the mayhem at the Capitol that shook the nation is being excruciatingly replayed under the aegis of the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, Capitol Hill insurrection.
And it is clearly worse when considered with the committee’s comprehensive logic than by the spinning of talking heads in those moments of madness.
In the words once directed at Tricky Dicky Nixon’s chief counsel: “What did the president know and when did he know it?” and reiterated by Liz Cheney this morning (1008), “What exactly did President Trump know, and when exactly did President Trump know it?”
In these hearings, nothing has been left to the imagination.
In the here and now, it wasn’t an unknown when or what. The whole revolution was conceived and fabricated over a period of weeks by Trump in a deliberate effort to avoid the inevitable. Like a child whose toy is taken away, this bully threw a multi-million dollar temper tantrum to try to promote… the Big Lie.
All his life, he has taken what he wants, when he wants, with total disregard for others.
As Liz Cheney said at the end of today’s hearing, if Trump had loved his country as much as he loved himself, he would have participated in an orderly turnover of power instead of striving to precipitate the nation’s second Civil War.
Trump threatened Pence over the days leading up to January 6, and again on the Ellipse when his rag-tag radical rabble threatened to hang the Vice-President before moving on the Capitol.
Trump had latched on to the concept that the people of the United States do not have the right to choose their own president but that, instead, the Vice President can unilaterally determine who should be the next President. In this case, Trump.
This is a man who has abused women and exploited minorities. Who lied and bribed his way to the White House. Who delighted in hurting others. Who drew a sense of power from hanging out with dictators.
Who murdered millions of Americans by discounting science in the battle to control Covid.
Who used the power given to him by the American electorate to assist his failing business endeavors, to abet the interests of his family and friends, to stir up hatred and exacerbate divisiveness in the name of making America great again.
Who on January 6th incited a new civil war… and continues to do so.
If we want to make America great again we, the great majority, have to start by putting criminals like Trump where they belong.
On trial, and behind bars.
(Liz Amsden is a contributor to CityWatch and an activist from Northeast Los Angeles with opinions on much of what goes on in our lives. She has written extensively on the City's budget and services as well as her many other interests and passions. In her real life she works on budgets for film and television where fiction can rarely be as strange as the truth of living in today's world.)