Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Getting Real


The Supreme Court was right to overrule the Colorado decision to remove Trump from the state’s ballot, unanimously. It can’t be up to individual states to decide, on their own, who can be on the ballot for a national race. But, going further, five asserted it’s up to Congress to define and declare who is and isn’t an insurrectionist. Four otherwise concurring justices argued that current federal law suffices; that the majority made it nearly impossible for candidates to be disqualified for insurrection. In effect, they rewrote the Constitution. You know: originalism.  

The SCOTI chose not to challenge the Colorado ruling that Trump is an insurrectionist. He is, and so remains. The ruling, in other words, is NOT the “big win” for Trump that he claims. SCOTUS’ slow-walking of Trump’s absolute immunity claim, however, is. There won’t be a Congressional definition of insurrection as long as Republicans control a Congressional house or the white one. Which is another reason why survival of the Republic depends on Democrats keeping two and regaining the third. At this historical moment, it couldn’t be more critical.

What’s an analogy for the lunacy of American politics? If your house were on fire and two men were approaching, one bearing a can of gasoline, the other pulling a fire hose, to which would you turn?

Or this: A baseball player attempts to steal second base; arrives after the catcher’s throw, already in the second-baseman’s glove, which tags the runner ten feet before he gets to the bag. Insisting he was safe, the runner refuses to exit the diamond. Replays from all angles confirm the obvious out. Nevertheless, the umpires gather at home plate to discuss it, carrying on through the night, the next day, and for days after that. Fans blame the ball.

Or: You have neighbors on either side of your house. To one of the houses people come at all hours, handing cash to the occupants, receiving unmarked packages in return. Cops often show up to haul someone away, cuffed. The other is a family who smiles and says hello when you see them. They go to church every Sunday, occasionally leave little gifts on your doorstep. Mom is a teacher, the kids are on the honor roll, dad runs a green energy company listed as one of the top 100 to work for.

Which is the “crime family”?

Final try: Donald Trump runs for president. He loses the popular vote by millions, and the Electoral College by a wide margin, making him the loser by all measures. He claims he was cheated, files scores of lawsuits in multiple states, initiates several recounts, hires a company to search for fraud. None is found. His suits are rejected. The recounts find he’d lost by even more votes than initially recorded.

A mewling documentary is made (see what I did there?), purporting to show massive fraud. Every claim is disproved, definitively. Three years later, Trump continues to insist he won; as seen in interviews, his supporters believe in him the way they believe in Jesus (despite not following His teachings), re-mouth his mendacity, refer to that “documentary.” What would it take for MAGAs to recognize they’re being used

As a person who values truth and respects, if not always agrees with, the laws of our land, what are you to think? If your education taught you to distinguish, or at least try to, between fact and fiction, and if, in half the country, you see efforts to make education into its opposite, where’s the hope? How can you not fear for your grandchildren’s future? Write a column? Trust me: it doesn’t work.

Confirming that citizens of the “exceptional” US are no less susceptible than were pre-WWII Germans, the power of Third-Reich-style big lie and scapegoating is disturbingly evident here. Nor is there reason to think the current, repetitious, MAGA Republican liars have any less malevolent intent than Joseph Goebbels and his master-race master. That it worked then is confirmed by the carnage of a world war.

That it works now is proved by that party’s shameful capitulation to Trump, a recidivist liar and dictator-loving, would-be authoritarian; and by the clueless gullibility with which his supporters repeat his lies, ignoring his increasingly confused rally-ramblings.

If Republicans loved America and the Constitution as much as they claim, Trump’s approval would be asymptotically approaching the x-axis. But Fox “news” and its wishfuls, along with the current crop of Republican leaders, are making sure it won’t happen. Pounding the same propaganda constantly (“terrible economy!” “wide-open borders!”), even using AI to make fake photos of Trump with Black voters and dishonestly edited news stories, they treat supporters like the dupes they know them to be.

As to the recent, ballyhooed NYT poll, here’s why we should calm down.


  1. Well-written. Interesting, though, that the Supreme Court was unanimous.

    1. It should have been, and was: the idea that each state can, on its own, remove a candidate from its ballot, based on a Constitutional but undefined transgression, would be chaotic. But the fact that four, for a couple of reasons, challenged their reasoning was right, too.


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