Alan Zendell, July 5, 2021
The next few weeks should be fascinating if you don’t mind sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to see if your elected leaders do their jobs or continue to trash the Constitution. The issue, of course, is which version of truth will be recorded as history, the one being propagated by Trump or the one supported and thoroughly documented by 100 million witnesses who watched everything live on television, nearly six months of law enforcement investigations, and judges who looked at more than sixty law suits and ruled that Trump’s claims of a rigged election were without merit.
Part of the problem we face is the evolution of both social media and more traditional journalistic media. The development of nuclear technology gifted the world with the ability to destroy itself virtually instantaneously with no prior diplomatic or ethical discussions of its use. In like manner, the various information outlets have grown in every direction that could find a wealthy sponsor, but that growth is more like a malignant tumor’s than a healthy expansion of knowledge and information.
Futuristic writers anticipated this situation decades ago. Several prominent authors predicted that the unregulated expansion of the Internet would result in the demise of verifiable truth, replaced by noise from every political and extremist quarter stretching the limits of First Amendment-protected free speech. Unfortunately, those who predicted that chaos would replace honest journalism proved to be prescient. Tens of millions of Americans get their “facts” from media outlets and social media manipulators who are more interested in promoting radical agendas than dealing with reality.
There have always been fringe groups who made absurd, unprovable claims. But this is the first time the leader of the movement to undermine our moral and ethical values as well as the basic ideas our Founders wrote into the Constitution was a former president. A president who has no regard for truth, is motivated solely by increasing his own power and wealth, and is supported by a heavily armed extremist fringe of the population is the most serious threat our nation has ever faced.
Many would add, “since the Civil War,” but I contend that the current threat is worse. In the 1850s, the antagonists who disagreed about slavery and the universality of human rights never pulled any punches about what they believed. Today, we are dealing with a seething underground movement that perpetuates destructive lies. That movement is driven by anger, bigotry, greed, and misogyny. To date, no amount of objective reporting and fact-checking has made a dent in their crazy theories.
If the Trumper movement is allowed to take over the Congress, America will pay a back-breaking price. We will be hopelessly divided, almost as if the Civil War never ended, and our standing in the world will be degraded as claims by adversaries like Vladimir Putin that our professed values are nothing but hypocrisy will be shown to be true. Although it is almost trite to say it, this is a potentially catastrophic existential threat our grandchildren will have to face.
Trump’s lies brought us a half million unnecessary deaths from COVID and resulted in the bulk of the anti-vax movement that threatens countless more. They brought us the insurrection on January 6th, and have set up a critical confrontation in the House of Representatives. At the center of this battle is Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who, after blaming the attack on the Capitol on Trump, realized he needed the votes from Trump’s loyal base to maintain his leadership position and possibly his seat. Poor Kevin boxed himself into a very uncomfortable corner, having told the truth under the stress of the moment, and then having had to bow and scrape to his maniacal leader ever since.
We see this coming to a head today. McCarthy has no choice but to appoint five members to the House Committee investigating the insurrection. As a result, yesterday, he actually told the truth again, denying Trump’s Big Lie and acknowledging that Joe Biden won the presidency in 2020 fairly and overwhelmingly. Today Trump announced that his lackey, McCarthy, had been summoned to New Jersey where he will be read the riot act and informed in no uncertain terms of exactly how Trump wants the House hearings to go.
Combined with extremist media predictions that Trump will be reinstated as president (whatever that means) next month, McCarthy is very much between a rock and a hard place. The outcome could be something quite radical – the House Minority Leader might even show some balls and integrity, and stand up to a deranged demigod who is trying to destroy America, but don’t bet on it.