Bob Franken




What shall we call it, as we mark every Jan. 6, National Shame Day? We will be commemorating the anniversary of when democracy was almost overrun by a small group from the right wing fringes. Their fatal invasion was egged on by none other than President Donald Trump, elected and supported by millions in spite of the fact that he has predictably dragged the nation as low into humiliation as we can go.
Certainly, this con artist would never have had the smarts to drag the country down without hundreds of enablers, mostly in the Republican Party — people who knew better but who calculated that their ambitions for power took personal precedence over doing the right thing.
We could possibly make it National Hypocrisy Day, to dishonor the likes of politicians like Sen. Lindsey Graham, who detractors call “Linseed Oil” Graham because he’s so slippery, and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, soon to be the minority leader after the Georgia elections did him in.
Both employed legislative contortions to enact the most preposterous features of the Trump agenda. But now their survival instincts are kicking in, and they are among the party regulars who are throwing him overboard.
Funny how they’ve suddenly discovered their consciences. Graham went from golfing buddy to proclaiming “enough is enough” of the Donald. And McConnell insisted that the wishes of Trump for Congress to declare the election null and void would send the U.S. into a “death spiral.”
But the hypocrites’ hypocrite has to be Mike Pence. The ever obsequious vice president bailed on his great leader conveniently after the president was credibly accused of inciting the riot that sent marauders defiling the symbols of our all-too-fragile democracy. Only after the dust settled and Congress was on its way to certifying the Biden victory over Trump did Pence, ever the righteous one, declare, “To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win.” And never mind that the havoc-wreakers marched to the beat of his boss man’s drummers.
Of course the dust never really settles. Even though Biden was finally certified the election winner, even though the president tweeted shortly before 4 a.m. that there would, in fact, be an “orderly transition,” even though he had to make that promise through a staff aide because he had been banned from social media, there are still scores to settle.
What to do with the insurrectionists, the rioters who ravaged the Capitol? Should they be identified and charged with sedition or accessory to murder, because their alleged actions led to death? Should they be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and receive maximum punishment if found guilty?
How about the police higher-ups who showed their bigotry with their perfunctory planning for the mostly white marauders, as compared to the brutal response to Black Lives Matter protestors this summer? What was behind that? We all know what.

What about the man who incited the riot? Until now I had been ambivalent about the national indignity of a former president being charged, tried and convicted for crimes. But has Donald Trump crossed the line?
Facing disgrace, he has tried to sneak back, weasel style, after his high-level staff members and even cabinet members discovered their consciences or reputational expedience and resigned. Once Twitter temporarily let him back on before banning him forever, Donnie Weasel tried to save the less than two weeks of his presidency by effectively conceding in a video that in fact a “new administration” will be sworn in on Jan. 20, but then had the gall to say, “This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”
But his political enemies, particularly House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are pushing to oust him before his term ends, saying the nation can’t risk having his hand on the nuclear button for even the few days remaining.
In any case, the politicians have created a crisis, somehow about dedicating the day to them. We could mark Jan. 6 with mandatory lessons for all schools (remember them, before the pandemic?) that while our government leaders are supposed to have moral principles and minimal competence to maintain a lawful, civil society, our citizens are routinely mislead by politicians and those who exploit our freedoms.
National Politicians Day, a lesson in broken promises from which this broken country must make reality.

© 2021 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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