Today, I would like to introduce you to two anomalies. These are people, relatively young people, who serve in the U.S. Congress and are members of the Republican Party. What, you ask, makes them an anomaly? Two things: they are intelligent and most importantly, they have a conscience. Yes, a conscience … I know it’s hard to believe in this, the 21st century, the age of Republican far-right lunacy and conspiracy theories. The two people I wish to introduce you to today are Liz Cheney, representative from Wyoming, and Adam Kinzinger, representative from Illinois. They’ve both been in the news enough that you no doubt know their names.
They are, to the best of my knowledge, the only two congressional republicans who will be serving on the House Select Committee to investigate the events of and leading up to January 6th, the day insurgents attacked Congress and attempted to overthrow our election, our choice, our government. Cheney and Kinzinger are not serving by appointment via House Minority Leader McCarthy, but they are serving voluntarily, because their conscience demands that they be a part of finding the truth. Their goal is not, as Jim Jordan’s and Jim Banks’ would have been, to disrupt the proceedings, to whitewash the details, to bury the facts, and to play the “whaddaboutism” game, rather their goal is to find out who was involved in the planning of the attempted coup, who played a role in inciting and encouraging the ignorant masses who stormed the U.S. Capitol that day, and bring those people into the spotlight, bring them to justice. Their goal is to ensure that such an event can never happen again, that the remnants of a democracy will not be turned to ash and buried.
As expected, GOP leaders, if they can be called such, are attacking Cheney and Kinzinger, accusing them of harboring an anti-Trump agenda and suggesting they’re just doing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bidding. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy even debuted a new label on Monday, tagging Kinzinger and Cheney as “Pelosi Republicans.” I wonder if he thinks this is funny? If he does, then I am more convinced than ever that he has the mentality of a teenager sniggering behind the girls’ gym locker room. Meanwhile, a growing number of House Republicans are clamoring for Kinzinger and Cheney to face internal consequences for accepting committee seats from Speaker Pelosi. I guess in their case, political loyalties outweigh loyalty to country.
STOP!!! This is not an US vs THEM contest!!! Or is it? The Democrats … nay, most of the people in this nation … want to know what happened, how it was that our very core of values, of governance, could come so close to toppling. WE the PEOPLE want to know who, what, why, when, and HOW. We want to know who in our government colluded, incited, and plotted against the voice of those of us who voted our conscience. I think we can probably all guess most of them, but I want to see the irrefutable evidence, then I want the Department of Justice to see that they pay the price for their seditious actions.
On Tuesday, the select committee to investigate January 6th held its first hearings. I haven’t yet watched the entire testimony of the four police officers who were called on to testify, but I have seen enough to break my heart. In one clip I watched, Representative Cheney said, “You hear former president Trump say, ‘It was a loving crowd. There was a lot of love in the crowd.’” And then she asked Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, “How does that make you feel?” His response …
“To me, it’s insulting, just demoralizing because of everything that we did to prevent everyone in the Capitol from getting hurt. And what he was doing, instead of sending the military, instead of sending the support or telling his people, his supporters, to stop this nonsense, he begged them to continue fighting. I’m still recovering from those hugs and kisses that day that he claimed.”
Officer Gonell stayed on duty, despite being injured, throughout the night, going home only after the votes were certified, around 4:00 a.m. Despite pleas by his wife and his doctor, he continued to work for the next fifteen days, until finally his foot became so bad that he couldn’t get a shoe on, and then doctors had to fuse together the broken bones in his foot. He will also need surgery on his shoulder. Both of his hands were injured, and he suffered chemical burns on his skin from the spray that was used as a weapon against him. And yet, he didn’t miss a day’s work. Why?
“My sense of duty for the country, for the Constitution, at that time was bigger than even my love for my wife and my son.”
Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn said one group of rioters, perhaps 20 people, screamed the n-word at him as he was trying to keep them from breaching the House chamber — racial insults he said he had never experienced while in uniform. At the end of that day, he sat down in the Capitol Rotunda and sobbed …
“I became very emotional and began yelling, ’How the (expletive) can something like this happen?’ Is this America? My blood is red. I’m an American citizen. I’m a police officer. I’m a peace officer.
Four officers testified on Tuesday, two Capitol police officers and two officers with the D.C. police force. One of the D.C. officers was Michael Fanone, who has been vocal about the events of that day … understandably, since he was brutally beaten, thrown down the stairs, tased, and suffered a heart attack, among other injuries. Officer Fanone was understandably hurt and angry during his testimony and at one point slammed his fist on the table in front of him.…
“What makes the struggle harder and more painful is to know so many of my fellow citizens, including so many of the people I put my life at risk to defend are downplaying or outright denying what happened. I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room. Too many are now telling me that hell doesn’t exist or that hell actually wasn’t that bad. The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful.”
I began this post talking about the courage of Representatives Cheney and Kinzinger. After Tuesday’s testimony by the four officers, Adam Kinzinger was so overcome that he was near tears when he gave a tribute to the officers’ bravery …
“You guys may like individually feel a little broken. You guys all talk about the effects you have to deal with and, you know, you talk about the impact of that day, but you guys won. You guys held. You know, democracies are not defined by our bad days. We`re defined by how we come back from back from bad days.”
This picture tells you all you need to know about Liz Cheney’s reactions to their testimony.
We must find out who played a role, no matter how small, in the storming of the Capitol on January 6th, and those people must be removed from Congress, indicted, tried, and imprisoned. Nothing less is acceptable. Sedition is a serious crime and frankly, we aren’t out of the woods yet, for many are calling January 6th simply a trial run. As for the Republican’s hateful rhetoric … the press needs to stop covering it. Full stop. In reporting Kevin McCarthy’s and Louie Gohmert’s and others’ every word, they are fanning the flames. We don’t need that. We don’t give a rat’s ass what they have to say … we’re more interested in getting to the truth.