Reclaiming Democracy – The American Perspective
After the Committee’s first round of hearings on January 6, the most important takeaway is that the committee has built an ironclad case for Trump’s indictment. We have now seen compelling evidence that Trump knew his demands of Mike Pence were illegal.
All of this should increase the likelihood that Attorney General Merrick Garland will prosecute Trump. In this context, last week’s report that the committee was resisting Justice Department requests for witness interview transcripts was bizarre.
It is understandable that the committee must complete its own work. But since the purpose of the committee’s work is to demonstrate that Trump broke the law and trashed the Constitution, a standoff over the separation of powers would be doomed, to say the least. After negotiations, the committee now plans to start sharing transcripts in July.
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The other takeaway is the contrast between Republicans in the executive branch who advise Trump and most Republicans in Congress. The hacks and opportunists Trump hired were far from constitutional altar boys. But in the end, almost everyone was so appalled by Trump’s narcissistic madness that all but very few like John Eastman resisted it.
The Republican Congress, meanwhile, with very few heroic exceptions like Liz Cheney, stood up for Trump, and still does. In the minds of the framers of the Constitution, Congress was to be the branch closest to the people. And that’s the problem. Trump-disrespectful GOP officials fear offending MAGA voters.
What to do when the poison infects not only corrupt leaders but also the body politic? Not just neo-fascist thugs like the Proud Boys, but their respectable apologists?
There is a bitterly ironic poem by Bertolt Brecht called “The Solution”. In 1953, although living in communist East Berlin, Brecht had little patience for party bureaucrats. Some officials had expressed disappointment at the people’s lack of enthusiasm for the party program. Brecht acidly suggested in his poem that perhaps the government should dissolve the people and elect a new one.
But the irony is on Brecht – and on us. We can’t get people fired. We must regain broad popular support for constitutional democracy.
This will require not only exposing Donald Trump’s crimes, but demonstrating that government is on the side of the people, not mega-corporations. If we are lucky enough to avoid pure and simple fascism, the road back will be long.