January 6th Committee — Is It Enough?

Tonight is the 8th and last of the scheduled televised hearings of the January 6th committee, although as the committee receives new information, they have noted they may schedule more hearings next month.  I applaud the work of this committee … they have left no stone unturned and despite opposition at many points, they have done an excellent job of tying the pieces together, of telling the story of the attempt to overthrow our government, not only on the day of January 6th, but in the days and weeks before and after.  But will it be enough?  Are enough people paying attention?  Do the people of this nation care?  Frank Bruni, writing for the New York Times, ponders the question in his latest newsletter …


We’re Asking The Jan. 6 Committee To Do The Impossible

By Frank Bruni

Contributing Opinion Writer

The Jan. 6 committee has told us plenty that’s new.

And yet it hasn’t told us anything new at all.

It wants us to be outraged and has given us more than enough cause.

But didn’t anyone willing to see the truth of Donald Trump reach peak outrage long ago?

We needed the committee’s detective work for the sake of history and decency, as a way of recording what happened and formalizing the censure of it.

But we didn’t need that sleuthing to understand what Trump, his enablers and his apologists are capable of. They’d shown us their garish colors countless times before. And most of the Americans who refused to look or found those hues appealing are hardly going to have some epiphany now. They’re as practiced in their acquiescence as we’re habituated to our disgust.

Oh, there have been scraps of evidence, or at least suggestions, that the committee’s revelations have made at least some difference. An ABC News and Ipsos poll conducted after the committee’s first televised hearings last month showed that 58 percent of Americans, including 19 percent of Republicans, believed that Trump should be criminally charged for his role in the riot at the Capitol, and that 60 percent deemed the hearings fair.

But a great many Americans haven’t tuned into them. And that’s because a great many Americans have tuned out. “Tuned out” isn’t quite right — they’ve become exhausted or addled or inured. The natures of Trump and of the modern news business produced a never-ending sequence of major scandals and minor scandals and maybe scandals that made discernment difficult and shock impossible.

As I’ve written before, Trump benefits from the extremeness and relentlessness of his wrongdoing. He’s so offensive so much of the time that the offenses blur, no single transgression sustaining the kind of attention it should because there’s a next one seconds later and another just after that. With a figurative (and maybe, someday, literal) rap sheet as epic as his, almost none of the entries stand out properly. The felonies are jumbled with the misdemeanors.

And there’s a tandem phenomenon that also cuts in his favor and further undercuts the Jan. 6 committee’s work. It’s the way in which this hyper-connected and nuance-free age of ours barrages us with bad news, much of it rendered in a hyperventilating fashion that comes to seem more affectation than alarm. Unable to care about all of it, we can wind up caring about too little of it.

That was a dynamic explored in a fascinating column in The Washington Post two weeks ago by the longtime journalist Amanda Ripley. She confessed that as “the news crept into every crevice” of her life, she could no longer bear or even follow it. “It was like I’d developed a gluten allergy,” she wrote. “And here I was — a wheat farmer!”

Ripley noted that a recent report from the Reuters Institute showed unusually high news-avoidance rates in the United States. She recommended that the media re-examine what it reports and how.

We’re certainly guilty of shouting so often that when we want to turn up the volume — when we need to signal that a given piece of information must be heard — we sometimes find that we’ve already reached the maximum level or that the audience has become deaf.

Therein lies the potentially impossible challenge for the Jan. 6 committee. It’s doing transcendently important work in an environment that just about forbids transcendence. And while it’s giving us detailed close-ups of monstrosities we’d only glimpsed from a distance, the monster is utterly familiar — and is still out there, breathing his fire and belching his lies.

37 thoughts on “January 6th Committee — Is It Enough?

  1. Personally, I don’t see this as anything monumental; it is just the political will that needs to firm up. Gardner can indict the Chubby Orange Man for any number of crimes he committed IN PLAIN SITE, let alone his seditious behavior on Jan 6th!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • My hope is that … at a minimum … he will be indicted and found guilty of failure to uphold his oath of office, or inciting an attempted coup, or dereliction of duty … whatever it takes to ensure that he cannot run in 2024, that his name cannot be on the ballot. I’d like, of course, to see him in prison, but his teams of lawyers will drag any guilty verdict out for at least a decade, by which time they will claim he’s too old to go to prison. Sigh.

      Like

  2. Not dissimilar to the mindsets of the 1930s during the rise of fascism and the Nazis.
    ‘We must stop talking about resistance and face up to them and it will all go away,’
    That worked out so well didn’t it.
    Mind you when everyone finally realised what was happening who were the ones who ended up in the ruins on their knees?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yep, worked out just great … sigh. How can people be so blind? I remember I used to ask why the Germans didn’t see what Hitler was, didn’t see what was coming down the road long before, and now? I still don’t understand it, but I see it happening right in front of my own eyes. Mention Nazi Germany to them and they give you a blank stare. Stupidity? Ignorance? Aggressive cruelty? I just don’t know, my friend … I just don’t know.

      Liked by 2 people

      • All I can say, this particular day is:
        ‘It happens’
        Too many examples in history.
        Not too late yet to put the brakes on and steer away from the cliff’s edge, but the chances are running out.
        After that it’s folk saying:
        ‘We’re gonna do something about this,’
        And not in a civic, legal, peaceable means.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thing is that … it may not be too late to put the brakes on, but there aren’t enough who see the cliff’s edge and are therefore willing to put the brakes on. I may be proven wrong — I hope that I am wrong — but today I see little more than cruelty in our ‘society’, such as it is. Just a day or two ago, one of the police officers who was very seriously injured on January 6th was harrassed as he walked down the street … it started with one lady verbally tormenting him, and escalated within seconds to an angry mob … people calling for his death because he tried to do the right thing. Sigh.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill can u please tell me and fellow readers what more we are supposed aside from expressing outrage, disgust and concern about our dwindling democracy?
    These hearings are revealing and damning, Trump should have a warrant out for his arrest, but what can the average citizen do to expedite this process?
    What good are these hearings if nothing is being done to prosecute the former guy? is this all for show and ratings, then we all forget about it and move on to the next news cycle? *Sigh*

    Liked by 2 people

    • I wonder about all this too. I vote, I post political stuff on my Facebook page to all of the 8 people who might respond. I have not written to Congress people because they have staff who are the ones actually reading these and the letter you might get back, is simply a form letter. I would imagine they look for trends and maybe threats, but not much else. Ive been to a couple of small protest things, but I’m a little too old for that now. And I read so I’m informed.
      Maybe another way to fight back and this would only work if tons of people did this, is to boycott some businesses who are big republican donators. As an example, Home Depot contributes to the republicans and gave a lot to trump, but Lowes does not. So I shop at Lowes. I avoid Hobby Lobby and Chick Filet because they are anti gay. Trouble is a lot of companies contribute to both parties to cover their ass either way.
      I have no children to educate and my friends already think as I do.
      I do attend a local democratic club once a month. So what more can I do?
      The best thing of all is to stay informed, but so many many are totally apathetic and just do not see the long term consequences. If nothing else, at least people should care and vote

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thank you Mary for the suggestions. I too have written numerous times, and receiving form letter responses to placate the masses don’t cut it.
        Boycotting would normally be my go-to move but large corporations play both sides these days. If u check their political donation record it’ll show roughly equal amounts to both sides over time. Whatever party wins the election they’ll owe corporate donors huge favors like tax cuts, gov’t aid like the recent pandemic relief which was just a big payoff that large corporations don’t need. Zero % business loans, bailouts, toxic Wall St bond restructures and other sweetheart deals.
        Hobby Lobby and Chick Filet are Christian founded organizations, so naturally they’re Trump backers. I avoid them like the plague.
        Jill’s blog is the best place to stay informed on current issues, but i wish i can more.
        Short of massive protests with millions marching the streets demanding Trump’s head, i don’t see the DOJ or Congress moving a muscle to prosecute the former guy.
        As peasants/ serfs living and working under the United States of Corporate America, we don’t really count.
        Hate to admit but Trump was right… he really could proverbially shoot someone on 5th Ave and walk away free. The insurrection is a thousand times worse b/c he killed our freedom and democracy, every day he’s a free man breaking the law and rubbing our faces in it! 😦

        Liked by 1 person

    • My friend … I wish I could, I wish I had some answers to the questions you ask. I only know that we have to use whatever we have to fight this fight, else we will find ourselves no better off than the Germans in the 1930s. For me, the only tool in my box is my voice, this blog. Others are better able to attend rallies, to SHOW their support or disdain, depending on the circumstances. And still others may write letters to newspapers, call their members of Congress, petition the government. Do what you can, that’s all I ask … just don’t give up! Please!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Jill, like the Watergate Committee, the House Select Committee is doing America’s heavy lifting into yet another corrupt and even seditious president. They should be highly commended for getting at the truth. Not ironically, Republicans who still care about the constitution are part of the truth telling as they detail the former president’s deceit, sedition and incompetence.

    One of the problems with the press is they have focused on ALL of the former president’s failings rather than just the main crimes and lies. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agreed. I think they have done a great job. They lined up their ducks, researched, and presented in a professional manner. I give them high fives all the way around. Indeed, they made a point tonight of noting that the witnesses who had testified were mainly Republicans, so there could be no cries of partisanship.

      The press … has let us down in numerous ways over the past decade. I fully support freedom of the press, for without it, democracy cannot survive, but I also expect them to keep their eye on the ball, to inform us of what we need to know, and not play favourites or games.

      Like

    • I don’t see how they could not be. As I told Chris after watching tonight’s hearing … I cannot understand how anybody in their right mind could still vote for Trump, knowing what he did, knowing that it was his intent to shred the Constitution, to shred democracy, and declare himself the “supreme leader” or something akin to it.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “news-avoidance” is an on-target description of millions of Americans’ attitude regarding Trump.
    They don’t have the wherewithal to want to know or care about the kind of human being Trump really is.
    It’s beyond sad. It’s pathetic.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Based on some comments from readers, I think that some people are just burned out, exhausted by it all. And I understand that, but as I told them, we cannot give up the fight now! I have a couple of friends who have donned their rosy-coloured glasses and earbuds and go about singing the proverbial “La la la la … I can’t hear you!” … they post pictures of their food, their backyard parties (never mind about Covid, right?), their trips to the beach, and never once make note of what is happening to this nation. It disgusts me. Sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. All you have to do is look at some comments on Facebook or a news article opinion piece to see nothing has changed.
    I’m just about burnt out aside from voting of course. I’m ready for tonight though..got the popcorn ready. I hoping for some bombshells.

    Liked by 3 people

    • And this is why I don’t bother to look at political posts on Facebook or Twitter! We’re all burned out, my friend … but we cannot stop now. There is entirely too much at stake. No real bombshells tonight, but I thought a good, solid confirmation that, as Kinzinger said, proved that Trump didn’t just fail to do something, he intentionally did not do something. Hope the popcorn was good! I’m jealous … all I had was a few sesame sticks to munch on (and a pack of cigarettes, of course 😉 )

      Liked by 2 people

    • Tonight they said they will be on hiatus until September, but it sounded pretty certain that there will be at least one or two more hearings then. Fingers crossed, and fingers crossed that the DOJ uses their information to bring charges against Trump and others, for if he is not held accountable, it sends a message to future presidents … and not a good message. Thanks for the re-blog, Ned!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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