“It is even more dangerous when we allow politicians to do this.”
From the outside looking in, it beggars belief that one of the two dominant political parties in the United States can look back on the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on the US Capitol as an exercise in “legitimate political discourse.”
Yet, there it was for all to see: the Republican National Committee last week overwhelmingly approved a resolution to censure two of its own members, Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, for being part of a congressional committee to investigate the riot that then President Donald Trump incited after suffering a humiliating defeat at the polls.
Trump, who never conceded, has since spread the lie that he was cheated—even though he has been unable to provide a shred of evidence of the massive election fraud that he constantly whines about. Remarkably, in the year since voters booted him from office, Trump and his enablers have managed to convince their gullible compatriots that fair is foul and foul is fair. They were such effective liars that a poll in September 2020 showed that 70 percent of Republicans believed Joe Biden was not legitimately elected President of the United States, while only 22 percent conceded that he was.
Last week’s RNC resolution was the logical extension of this blatant disregard for facts that most Republicans now embrace.
“Representatives Cheney and Kinzinger are participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse,” part of the resolution reads—suggesting that the violent attack on the US Capitol—which was captured in hours of dramatic video footage that the entire world could see—well, that was just “ordinary citizens” making their voices heard.
Never mind that at least seven people lost their lives in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, and that about 150 police officers were injured and hundreds of workers were traumatized by the mob.
The gallows the rioters brought with them and the chants of “Hang Mike Pence”? Surely, that was just a mere political disagreement over then Vice President Pence’s refusal to declare Trump the winner when he presided over the counting of electoral votes in Congress.
The same RNC has also threatened to bar Republican candidates from participating in official presidential debates—a sure sign they are really not interested in a free exchange of ideas or honest political discourse.
It is dangerous when politicians disrespect the facts, avoid honest debate and rewrite history. It is even more dangerous when we let them.