I dislike criticizing people with whom I usually agree. I prefer to aim my fire at the other side, especially since it’s currently overpopulated by sycophantic Trumpers. In this instance, it’s the rhetorical overreaction to the futile Texas Twisted election case that leads me to criticize some of my fellow liberals. I suspect my views will be unpopular with many. So be it.
I’m on the record as believing that COUP is the wrong word to describe Trump’s doomed attempt to steal the election. It’s a con, not a coup. It’s one of Team Trump’s most successful fundraising gambits ever. It’s also a vivid illustration of why wingnuts like to “own the libs.” It’s so damn easy. One of the few things they’re good at is trolling. My ironclad first rule of internet interaction is DO NOT FEED THE TROLL.
A new word is in use by those devoted to rhetorical overkill in the post-election period: SEDITION. The Attorney General of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro, described the Texas Twisted suit as such in his brief to SCOTUS. Others have applied the word to the 126 GOP Congresscritters who supported this idiotic and baseless election challenge. I disagree, it’s sycophancy, not sedition.
My objection to the loaded word sedition is based on our historical experience. Its first major use occurred during the partisan slagging match between Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans over the French Revolution. The former supported it and the latter sided with the British in their opposition. This split resulted in the justly infamous Alien and Sedition Acts, which were a massive First Amendment violation. To his credit, President Adams had qualms about the Acts, but still signed them into law. That led to the second president becoming the first to lose re-election.
We’ll skip the War of the Rebellion as the secessionist South was clearly seditious and move on to some 20th Century examples. The word sedition was slathered over every form of “disloyalty” during the post-Great War Red Scare as well as during the McCarthy period. It popped up occasionally during the anti-Vietnam War protests and was uttered on several occasions by Dick Cheney during the Iraq War.
In our national experience, the word sedition has been applied to suppress unpopular, usually left-wing speech. I am not eager to see it used by the left in overreaction to Trump’s post-election con. Do anti-Trumpers really want to keep company with A. Mitchell Palmer and Tailgunner Joe McCarthy? I certainly do not.
The 126 House GOPers who supported the fakakta Texas Twisted suit were motivated by sycophancy, not sedition. It’s the fear of a primary challenge or the desire to curry favor with President* Pennywise that led them to sign on to Gret Stet Congressman Mike Johnson’s stupid petition. I refuse to dignify it by calling it a filing.
There are many who want to punish the House 126 in some way. They will clearly not be prosecuted since it involves speech, not overt actions. Some want Speaker Pelosi to refuse to seat the 126 using the 14th Amendment as a rationale. In theory, that’s possible but it would be unwise in the extreme. Nancy Smash is too smart to go there. The result of such a refusal would be the disenfranchisement of approximately 94 million Americans. (The current ratio of voters per district is 747,000.)
Refusing to seat the 126 would open a second front in this ridiculous cold war between Democrats and Republicans. It would cede the high ground to the latter as they could scream about their constituents being disenfranchised. This notion is first cousin to the “led the red states secede” group. For obvious reasons, I disagree with this damn fool notion as it would banish millions of people of color and me from the Union. What happened in first in Virginia then Georgia proves that red states can evolve, especially those with large black populations.
For those desperate for the House to punish the 126, a less incendiary idea is to censure the ringleader, Congressman Mike Johnson. His actions take the Gret out of the Gret Stet of Louisiana and he’s not even the worst member of our delegation. This is also unlikely to happen, but it wouldn’t have the effect of needlessly turning the 2020 election into another 1876. There’s a clear victor in this election as will be ratified by the electors today.
There’s a public health crisis in this country and Congress needs to take a page out of Bill Clinton’s impeachment playbook. Every time he was asked about impeachment, he’d say something to the effect of “I’m not focused on that. I’m doing the work I was elected to do by the American people.” For the first time, there’s some hope on the COVID front. Vaccine distribution and relief for the American people is what Congress should focus on, not 126 sycophantic House GOPers.
If I wanted to be a member of a party of dick wavers and screamers, I’d be a Republican. I prefer to follow the lead of the incoming Democratic president Joe Biden and be prepared to fight off substantive challenges and shrug off the rest. It’s time for the MSM and the public to expel Donald Trump from their heads. He’s the past. He’s just a troll demanding to be fed. Stop giving him the attention he desperately needs.
Repeat after me: DO NOT FEED THE TROLL.
The last word goes to Mr. Spock: