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Shining A Cleansing Light on the (Ongoing) January 6th Insurrection
Watching the January 6th hearings yesterday was tough. We had heard nearly the all the stories before, but to see the events laid in such stark terms was illuminating but also horrifying.
Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis is often quoted for paraphrasing a larger quote from James Bryce in his 1888 book, The American Commonwealth…
“Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.” — Justice Louis Brandeis
…but the complete quote also bears repeating (emphasis mine) …
“Public opinion is sort of atmosphere, fresh, keen, and full of sunlight, like that of the American cities, and this sunlight kills many of those noxious germs with are hatched where politicians congregate. That which, varying a once famous phrase, we may call the genius of universal publicity, has some disagreeable results, but the wholesome ones are greater and more numerous. Selfishness, injustice, cruelty, tricks, and jobs of all sorts shun the light; to expose them is to defeat them. No serious evils, no rankling sore in the body politic, can remain long concealed, and when disclosed, it is half destroyed.” — James Bryce
These hearings our the disinfectant for an insurrection that is still brewing even as they meet, often including their peers in the Congress.
I have always believed that January 6th was only one attempt to overthrow our government. I watched closely on the day that Lafayette Park was violently cleared. Trump asked the military to intervene — and they refused. Had they not, that might have been the beginning of the end.
Thankfully, they did not intervene, but it was only a matter of time before another coup was plotted. That culminated in the January 6th attack, but that attack is still ongoing by those sticking to ‘The Big Lie” and attempting to convince US Citizens to turn against their own government. we are not out of the woods, but any stretch of the imagination.
I was listening to Thursday’s hearing on the radio as I prepared dinner that night. Several times I stopped, overwhelmed with the committee chairpeople and how they called out the name of the one person directly responsible again and again. They clearly declared what had occurred and who had taken part. While we have all heard bits and pieces of this as other investigations have dribbled out, it was the starkness of these statements that struck me most.
I do remember the Watergate hearings from my childhood and think there is a possibility of testimony and evidence that will make it seem small in comparison. This was the first time that a sitting President has refused to relinquish power peacefully as the Constitution demands and has put our entire country and democracy at risk. Such strong attacks require equally strong responses up to and including imprisonment for ALL involved, no matter what.
As John Dean stated during the Watergate conspiracy,
“I think that there’s no doubt about the seriousness of the problem we’ve got. We have a cancer within—close to the presidency, that’s growing. It’s growing daily. It’s compounding. It grows geometrically now because it compounds itself.”
I think the Trump conspiracy was and is far worse, far more damaging, and far more of an ongoing threat than Watergate ever was. We ignore it at our peril.
Let the sun shine in!