It’s time to Break It Down!
If 2020 is destined to be remembered as the Year of COVID-19, 2021, early as it is, may very well be recalled at the Year of the Capitol Insurrection. Last week, and again this week, we’ve seen two more mass shootings on the American landscape. In the parlance of contemporary pop culture, that might be enough for some to turn the page. With all due respect to the victims of those tragedies, a story unto itself, I’m not ready to move on.
On January 6, thousands of people assembled at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., for a Trump Rally. Afterward, many of them, inspired by rally rhetoric, changed their venue, and stormed the Capitol, in an unprecedented attack that will go down in the annals of history as the first time the venerable Citadel was breached since August 24, 1814, when invading British troops burned it. On that occasion, only a torrential rainstorm prevented it from being reduced to rubble. The January atrocity was not that devastating to the structure, but it was historic in another specific and notable way. The invaders, “Americans,” who built gallows on the grounds, broke windows and doors, scaled walls, and once inside, took down American Flags. Some of the attackers carried their own Flags…Trump Flags, and Confederate Flags. This is the stuff of never before executed sedition and terrorism. Five people died, as a result, including a Capitol Police Officer.
Trump and his team’s fiery oratory on January 6th were not the genesis of that day’s insurrection. Mr. Trump had promoted for weeks, a rally in Washington for that day, the day Congress was scheduled to certify Joe Biden as President. But even before that, Attorney Sidney Powell had joined Trump in promoting insidious conspiracy theories about election fraud, and a non-existent connection with the late Hugo Chavez and Venezuelan, Cuban, and Chinese election interference. Trump, Powell, and Rudy Giuliani were part of a group that filed over 60 lawsuits attempting to stop the count, or overturn election results in at least 6 states, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. All but one of the suits were tossed; many by courts with Republican majorities, including the U.S. Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority and 3 Trump appointees.
Caught up in the throes of defending against a more than $1 billion slander and libel lawsuit, filed by Dominion Voting Systems, Powell changed her tune. Using a defense similar to one employed by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, in defense of a slander lawsuit against him, brought by Karen McDougal, Powell’s lawyers argued no reasonable person would have believed her. In Carlson’s case, U.S. District Court Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, a Trump appointee, ruled that:
The “’general tenor” of the show should then inform a viewer that (Carlson) is not ‘stating actual facts’ about topics he discusses and is instead engaging in ‘exaggeration’ and ‘non-literal commentary.’”
Yesterday, in her defense, Powell’s attorneys said:
“Indeed, Plaintiffs themselves characterize the statements at issue as ‘wild accusations’ and ‘outlandish claims.’ They are repeatedly labelled ‘inherently improbable’ and even ‘impossible.’ Such characterizations of the allegedly defamatory statements further support Defendants’ position that reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact but view them only as claims that await testing by the courts through the adversary process.”
In summary, no reasonable person should be expected to believe the bovine excrement Powell was spouting. And guess what; more than 60 courts did not. Neither did election officials in those aforementioned 6 states. But wait! Who did? Apparently, Donald Trump, 67% of republicans, hundreds of GOP state legislators, and a majority of GOP U.S. Senators and members of the House of Representatives. I would add Tucker Carlson…but you can’t believe what he says, so who knows?
Erstwhile reasonable people might hope that upon finally hearing Powell’s defense/response/explanation, many of those Republican citizens and lawmakers might default to a reasonable man/woman standard, and let go of those ‘wild accusations,’ ‘outlandish,’ ‘inherently improbable’ and impossible’ assertions, because, they are in fact, wild, outlandish, inherently improbable, and, in the final analysis, impossible. Hope springs eternal. No Reasonable Person: A Sad Commentary on the Fictile Trump Coalition!
I’m done; holla back!
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