In one of my recent articles, “Trump’s Report Card,” I shared why I voted for President Trump in 2016, and why I did not vote for him in 2020.
During President Obama’s administration, congressional leaders Mitch McConnell and John Boehner had fostered an atmosphere for the Tea Party, and the GOP became known as the “party of ‘no’.” It seemed everywhere Obama turned he was met with a brick wall when it came to bipartisanship. Because Obama was the first Black man to become president of the United States, it was hard for some White Americans to accept.
So, when Obama became president, did he inflame and embolden the spirit of White supremacy? During a 2009 joint congressional session, representative Joe Wilson interrupted Obama’s speech, shouting “You lie!” And with no harsh reprimand nor consequence for Wilson’s action, it seems to have sent the signal that it was okay to disrespect the Office of the President. Remember the tarmac scene when Arizona Governor Ann Brewer pointed her finger in Obama’s face?
With the Obama “birther lie” as his political base momentum, in 2015 Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, and seemingly overnight, became the “Great White Hope.” His slogan “Make America Great Again (MAGA),” was his appeal to those White folks who took it as “let’s get back to the familiar; to a president that looks like us.”
Now, I’m not totally dismissing the fact that a segment of our population may feel misrepresented in some way. Reportedly, the White Working Class make up the largest single voting bloc from perhaps 40-54% of the entire electorate according to some estimates. Law Professor John F. Banzhaf of George Washington University says, “Calling them ‘blue collar workers’ is inaccurate, and underestimates their number and influence, because even many people with only a high school [diploma] work in offices as salespersons, customer representatives, clerks or high-level assistants, etc., not in traditional blue collar positions.”
Since the November 3, 2020 presidential election when President-elect Joe Biden won by six million votes, all we’ve heard from Trump is “fraud,” “rigged,” “stolen” and “fake”. Due to the pandemic, when voters were encouraged to mail in their ballots, Trump devised a strategy that if he lost the election, he would scream “fraud!” Well he lost, and he did. Now that’s all we hear from his base and his party. It was a fair and legitimate election (by all accounts) which Trump and his cronies attempted to contest 60 times in the courts without any evidence of the allegations.
On January 6, 2021, the day Congress was to certify the electoral votes, Trump held a rally in D.C. where he, his lawyer and others spoke out in protest. Trump went so far as to say it would be treason if Vice-President Mike Pence, who presided over the certification process, did not reject the votes – which was clearly not his role according to 3 U.S. Code Section 16: “Such joint meeting shall not be dissolved until the count of electoral votes shall be completed and the result declared; and no recess shall be taken unless a question shall have arisen in regard to counting any such votes, or otherwise under this subchapter, in which case it shall be competent for either House, acting separately, in the manner hereinbefore provided, to direct a recess of such House not beyond the next calendar day, Sunday excepted, at the hour of 10 o’clock in the forenoon. But if the counting of the electoral votes and the declaration of the result shall not have been completed before the fifth calendar day next after such first meeting of the two Houses, no further or other recess shall be taken by either House.”
3 U.S. Code 17 states: “When the two Houses separate to decide upon an objection that may have been made to the counting of any electoral vote or votes from any State, or other question arising in the matter, each Senator and Representative may speak to such objection or question five minutes, and not more than once; but after such debate shall have lasted two hours it shall be the duty of the presiding officer of each House to put the main question without further debate.”
Once the votes were all in, there was nothing more Pence could have done but allow representatives time to go on record in objection which would not change the outcome. His role was not to adjudicate; he followed the constitution of the United States.
It was Trump’s rally and his toxic words that fired up the crowd to storm Capitol Hill where they engaged in riotous acts of violence and destruction. Yes, Trump incited a riot against democracy, and watched it all play out from his TV. He did not even march with the armed mob as he had told them he would, and did not intervene as Commander-In-Chief.
Now Republicans are saying it was an angry and frustrated crowd of peaceful “stop the steal” protesters. Tell that to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the assault on our government!
In the aftermath, I’ve been watching Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and other networks. In all the footage of what took place inside and outside the Capitol, while representatives – including Pence – were ushered out of the chamber fearing for their lives, Republicans are still calling it a peaceful protest. Some even went so far as to say, at least they were not rioting and burning like the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters. They did worse: They stormed the beacon of democracy, and there was no adequate force to stop them.
FiveThirtyEight writer Maggie Koerth wrote: “Between May 1 and November 28, 2020, authorities were more than twice as likely to attempt to break up and disperse a left-wing protest than a right-wing one. And in those situations when law enforcement chose to intervene, they were more likely to use force — 34 percent of the time with right-wing protests compared with 51 percent of the time for the left. Given when this data was collected, it predominantly reflects a difference in how police respond to Black Lives Matter, compared with how they respond to anti-mask demonstrations, pro-Trump extremists, QAnon rallies, and militia groups.”
Where do White supremacists get off thinking they have such privilege? The “Trump Regime” is merely a reincarnation of the John Wilkes Booth “Idiot-ology” that the assassination of President Lincoln would make him a hero. Insurrectionists and murderers are not heroes. We know what happens to them in the end.
This “civil war” as some call it, will not be won by the sword, but by the law. Don’t be confused! There are more people willing to die for the rule of law, than the rule of a corrupt president!
I tweeted some well-known conservative Televangelists asking if they would speak out against the violence of January 6th, and to denounce any future plans for sedition. I got no responses. I did however request a comment from the SBN network where Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart’s wife Frances hosts a panel show called “Frances and Friends.” My request was: “May I have a statement from your ministry on the killing of a police officer at the nations’ Capitol on January 6th?” The on-air responses were:
Ms. Frances: “Well that was an awful thing, anybody being killed anywhere…I hurt for anybody that loses their life.”
Evangelist Carl Brown: “I do not believe it was a Trump supporter that hit that police officer with a fire extinguisher [my belief is that it was Antifa, or BLM].”
Jim Nations: “I hope they’re not trying to blame it on our president.”
During that same telecast segment, a caller named “Jerry” – a retired California attorney – called in to inform them of the limited role Pence had in the certification process. He stated the facts of the law, while they merely responded with hearsay. With such a powerful worldwide platform, I suggested to the panel that they be more responsible to disseminate the facts to help tone down all the untrue rhetoric that has so many people up in arms.
It’s amazing how Trump followers would rather believe something they heard rather than seek out the truth for themselves. A line in the Motown song “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” says “Believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear.” Don’t be confused people – think!
Could it be that the election of President Obama broke up the fallow ground to expose Joe “You lie” Wilson, President Trump and the GOP to finally draw out the poison of racism so that we can properly heal and move forward to truly make this the United States of America?
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Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based contributing writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon); two insightful books that speak to our moral conscience in times like these. Email: [email protected]