What’s Been Happening?
I am a slow thinker and I am finally starting to process some of the events of the last few days, weeks and year. As best I see it, it is like this:
The acting and previously elected president of the United States refused to concede the next election of someone else to the presidency, which was conducted with rules agreed on and accepted by the states previous to the election. The rules were basically the same as the election before that had elected him, with certain aspects of the rules used more heavily due to a Pandemic which threatened the voters. When all the votes in all of the states were counted, and in some contested states recounted, he lost the election. According to the rules of the election set up through the years, he received fewer electoral votes than the person running against him. After all votes were counted, he lost.
He did not concede the election or begin the transition.
In some states that still changed from his party to the opposing party even after recounts he asserted “fraud,” claiming that he felt that there was no way the states could change from his party to the other party after his resounding leadership of the last four years. He had his party bring lawsuits to more than 60 courts, all of which were dropped due to lack of evidence, including courts in which his party had appointed the judges that saw the cases. It became evident that while there are occasional isolated instances of fraud in every election, including the one in which he was elected four years previously, there was nothing presented that could have changed the election. His legal appeals failed. Then he began calling the election officials and the governors of the states that had just been recounted and certified legally and attempted to influence them into “switching certifications” of panels of electors. Since most of them were members of his own party, he thought this might work, but they were honest and would not, because that would be illegal — unconstitutional. That option exhausted.
He still did not concede or begin the transition.
His Vice-President handled most of the details having to do with the raging Pandemic which due to his lack of leadership and bad example in ignoring or making fun of the science involved in combating it was worsening. Instead he waged a “Stop the Steal” campaign on Social Media complete with rallies at which he spoke that ignored the pandemic and became super spreaders of the virus. The White House became an infectious disease nightmare and medical institutions which could have been helpful in controlling the contagion were strong-armed into denying its impact or were de-emphasized to the public. The Pandemic worsened and spread to areas that might have been spared with proper early management.
Still, the president ignored it and continued his “Stop the Steal” daily tweets, rallies and refused to face his eventual replacement.
On January 6th Congress met to confirm the vote of the people in the election, a largely ceremonial act. While it was expected that some members would lodge a formal “objection” to the already contested legally and recounted votes when some states were called this had already been resolved and it would be done more to influence any election law change in the future, not the results of this already resolved election. A procedure that should take a few hours, some years only a few minutes, would stretch out longer but the outcome was already legally resolved. This was not a moment of decision. The decision had already been made by the American people. Meanwhile, the president had scheduled one last rally at which he would speak, a “Stop the Steal” rally just blocks away from the legislators who were performing the final ceremony of the incoming administration. This rally was after a last minute appeal to his Vice-president, who was the presiding officer at the ceremony as the leader of the Senate, to put aside the legal count and the legal ballots and accept votes from electors favoring him, instead. Since this was neither legal, (or constitutional or possible, especially since it had been turned down by the courts) the Vice-president said no, engendering rage from the president and his followers. Yes, his avid followers who had been reading and soaking up the “Stop the Steal” social media feed from the president for 6 weeks or more. This last rally had been planned for the 6 weeks or more since the election as a last ditch attempt to “Stop the (imaginary) Steal,” and change the legal election. One last chance!
It had been followed by agencies that noted that a number of off-the-wall Hate groups, White Supremacists and other far-right armed activists were vowing to attend but this was a presidential rally so that was taken into account when not seriously beefing up security. Neither the theme of the rally, “Stop the Steal” or the media buzz ahead of it were considered for this rally that was taking place in front of the White House with the acting president of the United States as its feature speaker. What could go wrong with a nice group of White Folks supporting their “Stop the Steal” president?
Well, let’s see.
The Hate Groups showed up. (Surprise, surprise!)
The president suggested at his rally that they “stop the steal,” and march on the Capitol (insinuating but not quite saying he would be leading the charge.) Some accounts are saying that some rioters and insurgents were surprised to find out that he was not there. No. He went back inside the White House to watch the insurgency he had instigated on TV. It isn’t reported where his lawyer went after he instigated and encouraged insurrection.
The crowd from the rally, which had built a “mock” but workable gallows on which they were saying that they would hang Mike Pence (And probably Nancy Pelosi. Who wants to be sexist?) broke in through the feeble security there, stormed the chambers, ransacked offices, killed a Capitol police officer by hitting him over the head with a fire extinguisher, and would have been able to hold Congress hostage if the legislators had not been hastily moved.
Appeals began to go out from the legislators, from Mike Pence, from Nancy Pelosi, from the Capitol Police who were overwhelmed and from the Mayor for help. Republicans removed with the rest to avoid being captured and held hostage talked to the president and asked him to go out and make a statement to stop the takeover he instigated. Assistance was slow to arrive and the eventual statement by the president was tepid and implied praise and stated love (for the insurrectionists) when one was finally made. Twitter took it down for fear it might invoke further violence. Six people were killed.
Objectors still objected. Even after being threatened by the mob, they still voted to choose the current president over the Constitution. (And that explanation about the objection being posted for future election changes came from Republican Jim Jordon when he was pressured this morning in committee to state for the public that the election WAS NOT STOLEN, which he would not directly say.)
The president of the United States is either crazy, delusional, or he is instigating sedition. Based on this and that more violence has been promised and the inauguration of the President-Elect and Vice-President Elect is due to happen in the same place that was overrun and attacked on the 6th in 8 more days, Congress is faced with a dilemma as to how deal with his actions. He has clearly violated the Constitution of the United States and while still not conceding, when still insisting that the election was stolen from him and that he won by a landslide, he is remaining a figurehead that instigates violence. He and Republican supporters’ statement that Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States is not the same as admitting that he was fairly elected according to the laws in place now and at the time of the election.
So what should happen?
Amendment 25: Congress has offered the Republican Party the option of just stating the leader of their party has been crazy and unfit to lead the country. The Vice-President is fully capable and has been doing most of the “presidenting” anyway for the last six weeks, (probably even the last year), and admitting that there was no unfair election and removing the leader of their party right now before there is more violence is the simplest and quickest move. Asking Vice-President Mike Pence and his remaining cabinet to begin the procedure to enact this move is the first step. If this is refused …
Second Impeachment: Beginning the procedure of impeachment against the president for the crime against the constitution of inciting sedition when he directed rally-ers to “march to the Capitol” has two advantages. While it would be completed after his term had expired making removing him from office a moot point, it can be used to ensure he is no longer eligible to hold any Federal office again.
Strong Censure by Congress: This, signed by BOTH parties, would certify that the election was fair, there was no steal and that Congress will act strongly to repel any more challenge to the Biden presidency. That is most of why committee was trying to get Jim Jordon to state publicly that the election WAS NOT stolen, that there was no secret “landslide” for the current president, and the election is OVER. In effect, the Republican party in its entirety conceding the election with no further “objection.”
Or Just Try To Ignore the Whole Thing until his Term Runs out in 8 days. While this, the non-option, is an option, it settles nothing and leaves a mess. Any further violence pretty much negates this. The assertion that violence will be triggered by anything that removes the current president from office before his last appointed minute? Who knows? We are in a holding pattern.
History is being made as we wait for the answers.