What is truly clear now is that Donald J. Trump wanted to stay in power by any means necessary.
Period. Full Stop.
Let that sink in. Trump wanted to lead the mob up to the Capitol because he knew that he could push the mob to do whatever was necessary to get him and his followers into the Capitol. Once he was in the Capitol, he would follow disgraced General Michael Flynn’s advice to “declare martial law” and announce that he was in charge. Then the coup d’état would be complete.
Think about that for a second. Once Trump was standing on the floor of the House or the Senate, who was going to be the person or persons to remove him? The Capitol police? I doubt it. The National Guard? Not a chance.
Would the military be forced to remove a president from the House chambers? Exactly how would that work? Would Pence call the military into action? If Pence wouldn’t act, then who had the authority? Now, we have a true constitutional crisis on our hands. It was only the Secret Service that prevented Trump from going to the Capitol because they thought it was too dangerous for his safety.
Some people are comparing January 6 to Watergate. That’s comparing jaywalking to the murder of innocent school children at Sandy Hook. There is no comparison. This is big. This is awful. This is truly a dark day for America in which right-wing zealots tried to take over our government.
Jayland Walker—one of too many
We need to go back to February 1999. It is a little after midnight. We are in New York City, the Bronx. Four plainclothes police officers are driving their unmarked car looking for suspicious activity. They see a man who looks “suspicious.” They get out of the car and approach him.
The man, Amadou Diallo, an immigrant from Guinea, was in front of his apartment complex. As the officers approached, they began to shout commands. Exactly what Amadou Diallo heard and understood is unclear. Diallo turned and walked into a vestibule toward the front door. He reached into his pocket for his wallet. Then he turned toward the officers and faced a hail of bullets. The four officers discharged 41 bullets at him; 19 of them hit Amadou Diallo. He was dead at the scene. He was unarmed. The officers were indicted in the Bronx and, after a change of venue, acquitted in Albany, NY.
Just recently, on June 27, a 25-year-old young man, Jayland Walker, was shot and killed by police in Akron, Ohio, after fleeing a routine traffic stop. The exact details of the traffic stop and the chase are unclear. Police officers said they saw Mr. Walker fire a gun out the window during the pursuit. The chase continued on foot. It is reported that police officers attempted to deploy tasers but were unsuccessful at stopping Mr. Walker. As Mr. Walker fled the scene, for some reason, officers opened fire and killed Mr. Walker. Initial reports stated that Mr. Walker was shot 60 times or, at least, he had 60 wounds.
There is no excuse for killing this man. One would figure that after the George Floyd’s protests, things would change. But it appears that they haven’t. It seems that over the last 20 years, nothing has changed. According to Rashawn Ray, director of the Lab for Applied Social Science Research at the University of Maryland, there have been no significant changes on the federal level regarding police violence.
A scattering of state and local laws have been changed, but for the most part, police departments are not held accountable. When something terrible like this happens, the city pays a negotiated settlement to the family. That money does not come out of the police budget. And while there have been some high-profile trials in which officers have gone to jail, that’s not the norm. For the most part, officers get acquitted, and nothing further gets done. Over one thousand—1,000—Americans have been shot or killed by the police every year. This must change.
In the 1970s, it looked like the Equal Rights Amendment would easily pass. There was tons of momentum. Then ultra-conservative Phyllis Schlafly mobilized a large group of women to oppose the amendment, and it died.
The ERA says Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. One would figure that everyone in the US would support such an amendment, but in this polarized environment, who knows? I think another line should be added to the amendment, so we are all clear. All persons shall have autonomy over their bodies, regardless of pregnancy status. That’s it. This would elevate women to have the same rights as men. Self-determination. The freedom to make their own decisions and choices. Same as any man. Anything less is wrong.
Oh, and before I leave this topic, it is essential that we, progressives, understand that we have a long fight ahead. We aren’t going to change the Supreme Court overnight. We must be focused. We can’t get distracted by nonsense proposals.
Impeach Clarence Thomas. This is a nonsense proposal. It will not happen. Remove Amy Coney Barrett. More nonsense.
Amy Coney Barrett did lie. She should not be on the Supreme Court, but she is there now. She should be impeached for actual misconduct. Brett Kavanagh lied, under oath, in his Senate hearings. And everyone knows it—but impeachment is a waste of time.
We don’t need to burn down long-standing institutions like the Supreme Court. Instead, we want to save them! We want the Supreme Court to work for democracy. We need to harden the rules in the Senate. We probably need to consider amending the Constitution to determine precisely how Supreme Court Justices should be chosen. No vacancy should be left open for more than three months without a Senate vote. The Senate majority leader must bring the president’s nominee to the floor of the Senate for a vote—or the Senate Minority Leader is given the authority to lead the proceedings.
Beware, dark days are ahead. The Supreme Court has shown its willingness to throw out old, and even very recent, Supreme Court decisions. Why? Because they can. They believe not in the rule of law but in the power of the majority of six to three.
A conservative supermajority has run over the idea of slow change that John Roberts supported. The Supreme Court now has an opportunity that it has never had before to paint all of America in conservative red.
Everything is now up for grabs. The Court will choose cases where they can have the most impact. The Court will work to limit the influence of government everywhere. They will favor big business over everything else. Environmental protection rules will be thrown in the toilet. Unions will be crushed. Individual rights will be suppressed in favor of corporate power. They may very well approve of Republican state legislatures’ taking away the right to vote—or, just as bad, the right to have their votes count—from anyone they dislike: Democrats, African Americans, students, even if they’re in the majority in a state.
There is simply nothing holding the conservative court back. Brace yourselves.
Unfortunately, there is not much that Biden and the Democrats can do in the short term. We must keep a majority in the House and see if we can turn more seats in the Senate in the fall election. But this is the bottom line:
We are in for a fight for the soul of America. I’m not talking about a physical battle—though, given the Proud Boys, 3-Percenters, Oath Keepers, and other proto-fascist militias, that might happen, too. No, I’m talking about a fight of ideas. If we lose this fight, all the progress we made in the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s will be lost.
Ask not what this country can do for you but what you can do for your country. It is time.