SAY WHAT? - The battle for democracy, woefully under-reported, lumbers on. The bad news is that the crazed orange guy is still out there, raving and lying. At a Saturday night "rally" in Georgia, he obsessively parroted "The Big Lie" yet again, telling a rabid crowd of cranks that Arizona's just-completed, $6-million, bamboo-fiber-seeking "full forensic audit" was "a big win for us" that revealed"huge findings!" and "a major criminal event" the commie Fake News is now villainously covering up, when in fact, here on unaccomodating Planet Earth, it found that - duh - Biden won, again, though by 300 more votes than was originally thought. "Truth is truth, numbers are numbers," conceded the GOP Senate head who approved the bonkers charade. Nope, insisted the crowd that gathered outside a hearing after release of the audit to frenziedly chant "De-certify!" and "USA!" Their lunatic calls echoed around the Internet, with conspiracy theorists trumpeting what's "gonna be the beginning of their end" and a Melania Trump (Official) site hawking Trump coins to honor "President Trump’s victory and success” - $7.95 to $4.95 or one free coin (plus $8.95 for shipping) in a “complementary plastic case” or multiple for "only 130$! (and) in a year the value will skyrocket and you'll be able to buy a house with only 25 coins!". Ok, maybe a really, really teeny one. Regardless, after the audit will definitely come "the storm, the rapture, salvation."
Appearances notwithstanding, notes Boston College historian Heather Cox Richardson, the Jan. 6 riot and its ensuing "Stop the Steal" delirium "was not some crazy plot of some obscure dude in a shack in the mountains; this was a plan of the president of the United States." She details other horrors: a Trump lawyer's six-point plan to overturn the election and “kill the Biden presidency in the crib”; staff members of GOP A.G.s meeting for "war games" to consider strategies if Trump lost; MAGA wingnuts using the language of authoritarianism, from a Texas gubernatorial challenger saying the state "deserves a leader" like Brazil strongman Jair Bolsonaro to white nationalist Charlie Kirk echoing Nazi "replacement theory" by charging Democrats back "an invasion of the country" to bring in brown people who'll vote for them; and the bizarre, little noted news that next year's CPAC confab will be held in....Budapest, Hungary, where Viktor Orbán, Tucker Carlson's fave new fascist, is busy dismantling democracy. Given the current fundamental battle "to prove that democracy actually works," writes Richardson, "If this is not a hair-on-fire, screaming emergency, what is?"
The somewhat good news is that there are a bunch of people still out there valiantly trying to prove democracy does work, though the verdict on that remains admittedly, terrifyingly unclear. Last week, the House January 6 Select Committee put in sweeping records requests for hundreds of documents from the National Archives, seven federal agencies and the Trump White House, demanding delivery within two weeks. In response to that request/demand, Joe Biden made it clear the days of immunity for the former mafioso's crimes are over; he said "it would not be appropriate" to claim executive privilege to hold onto the documents, and have at it. The House committee also issued its first subpoenas to four powerful former co-conspirators: slimy white supremacist Steve Bannon, deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino Jr., former Pentagon chief Kash Patel, and former chief of staff and bootlicking Mark Meadows, who was reportedly working feverishly to get the Justice Department to investigate multiple insane stories of election fraud. While their former boss babbles about "executive privilege" to stop the "Witch Hunt" by the "Unselect Committee" for "the good of our Country while we wait to find out whether Subpoenas will be sent out to Antifa and BLM (who had nothing to do with Jan. 6) for the death and destruction they have caused" (in his fever dreams), all four have been summoned to testify in October.
In anticipation of that appearance, many patriots are urging the Committee, despite their largely Democratic and thus historically wussy make-up, to aspire to be "merciless." "The people served are unworthy of being treated as anything more than criminal defendants," argues Charles Pierce, who argues we "fight them tooth and nail. If they want to duck and cover and plead the Fifth, let them do it on live television." Likewise assuming the perps will lie and "claim spurious executive privilege," former GOP strategist and Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson also passionately calls on the Committee to "keep in mind the power of spectacle" and "for ONCE get the taste of blood in your mouth." He goes on,"Now...and this is the tricky part... Fuck. These. Guys. Don't let them or their lawyers wedge you into the phony courtesies and hollow formalities of the Old Washington. These are people who would have gladly burned down our nation." They are also "the most hostile of witnesses. Hostile to the truth. Hostile to the country. Hostile to democracy." In a take-no-prisoners confrontation, he argues, "Your task isn't simply to investigate but to humiliate." Follow the phones, follow the money, follow the email trail, he urges. Most damningly, "Fill the media void with the Trump mutant parade." Finally, "Bring in the spawn of Trump," he advises. "Make it hurt." America, and history, will thank you.
(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.)