By SEAN QUINTAL
Jan. 6, 2021, will appear in American history books for generations, alongside dates like Dec. 7, 1941 and April 14, 1865 — days that become seared into our national psyche by events that both inflame the conscience and encumber the heart.
On Jan. 6, the world watched in horrified disbelief as a sitting U.S. president incited a mob of followers to attack the hallowed home of our democracy. Scores of mostly white people stormed the U.S. Capitol building, charging beneath flags that bore the sigil and surname of the object of their nihilistic idolatry. The sinister motivation of the riotous rabble was literal sedition: conspiring to interfere with the constitutionally required democratic process being conducted at that moment in the chambers of Congress.
What ensued was a sordid spectacle of vandalism, desecration, mayhem and murder. Throughout, Trump refused to seriously condemn the marauders, or to ask them to desist. And he could not have done so authentically, since the paroxysm of anti-patriotism was the logical conclusion of his years-long campaign of self-serving lies, and calumnious conspiracy theories. But Trump’s lies alone would have been insufficient fuel for that treasonous fire to burn. The conflagration drew its oxygen from the cynical enabling of Republican senators and congresspersons. For months, GOP officeholders either expressly endorsed Trump’s ridiculous claims of election fraud, or coyly muttered limp ambiguities, never expressly condemning the lies.
Thus, on Jan. 6, a ceremonial recording of votes became a vehicle for political preening by the wretched likes of Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley; both former clerks for U.S. Supreme Court justices, they knew that the outcome of the vote counting was not changeable. But they knowingly lied to Trump’s frothing supporters to fundraise, and to burnish their credentials for the lunatic vote in the 2024 presidential contest. The frothing Trump supporters heard affirmation of their demagogue’s lies, and unleashed mob violence to intentionally subvert both the Constitution and democracy itself.
Even after the insurrectionists were cleared from the Capitol, and the vote counting resumed, Hawley, Cruz and five other Republican senators, were joined by more than 100 GOP representatives in the House to object to accepting the votes of the American people. Lawmakers who hours before had cowered on the floor, fearing for their lives, still voted to dishonor the will of the American voters.
For all of them, may their names always be remembered for this sin against our nation. May their reputations be forever lashed with an iron cord to Trump’s repulsive legacy. And may history’s judgment of them be harsh and unforgiving. Their disgrace and ignominy will be well deserved.
Jan. 6 was momentous for another, more hopeful reason. That day the nation learned that Jon Osoff and Raphael Warnock had won both of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats. Critically, this gives the Democrats majority control, with Vice President Harris’ tie-breaking vote of the Senate. This provides the Biden administration the opportunity to achieve important legislation for all Americans. First priorities will be to correct the failures and underfunding of Trump’s COVID vaccine distribution, to provide much needed stimulus money to American workers and small businesses, and to rescue state and local governments which are being crushed by the enormous burden of spending, coupled with lost revenues due to the pandemic. Those victories also make starkly clear what a failure Donald Trump has been. In his four years as President, the Republicans have lost the House, the Senate and the Presidency.
Just as national Democrats are gearing up to legislate, local Democratic officeholders are also assuming the reins of government. Two of those leaders joined us for our January meeting. Nathan Fletcher, Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, described the Board’s “Framework for the Future,” emphasizing reordered governing priorities now that Democrats have a majority of the Board. These include a focus on racism as a public health crisis; making progress on coordinated local policies to confront climate change; and fashioning a science and data driven approach to COVID vaccinations and mitigation. Raul Campillo, newly elected San Diego City Councilman for District 7, explained that the Council’s new 8-1 majority would reflect Democratic values. These include small business relief; creation of good-paying union and green jobs; substantial infrastructure investment, as well as municipal worker protections. Campillo was also happy to report that funding for the long-promised San Carlos branch library is already in his proposed budget.
First hand information from local and national political leaders is a regular feature of our club’s monthly meetings. If you would like to stay abreast of local and national political developments, or if you would like to become more involved in local matters, you are welcome to join our monthly meetings. The first Wednesday of every month we meet on Zoom at 6:30 p.m., with the formal meeting commencing at 7 p.m. To join us, you may find the Zoom links at www.lmfdems.com.
— Sean Quintal writes on behalf of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club.