The day after Independence Day last week, Huffington Post had a fitting “tribute” to – well, let’s have HuffPost say it:
“They rejected democracy. They lied. And they spent July Fourth calling themselves patriots.”
Featured was a collection of gushing faux patriotism from Republicans who have shown since Jan. 6 they have a serious problem with this thing called the United States.
Sen. Ted Cruz: “I’m proud to be an American and proud to be free.”
Sen. Josh Hawley: “This is the greatest nation in the history of the world.”
Funny that Hawley and Cruz should say those things, considering they and many of their Republican brethren have done their best over the last six months to undermine what this nation is all about: self-government and the rule of law.
Truth be known, Cruz, Hawley and their Proud Boy buddies desire something wholly apart from the nation they say they love.
What they want is Haiti. Or Yemen. Or Somalia.
No, not places without running water and lots of black people.
What Cruz, Hawley and friends want is a country where the mob reserves the right to rule. Where elections have scant consequences. Where “One person, one vote” is the oath of the enemy. Where the peaceful transition of power is an annoyance. Where civil war never ends.
Certainly they have a constituency – one sworn to uphold a lie. Not just any lie, the Big Lie. The biggest and most destructive lie in American history.
The other day, reading about another time when ruthlessness was on the losing end of history, I thought about what might have happened if things were different here on Jan. 6, 2021.
What triggered these thoughts was the fate of Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.
Milosevic, who ordered ethnic cleansing during the violent sundering of Yugoslavia, was defeated at the polls in his bid for reelection in 2000. He refused to acknowledge his defeat.
When a popular uprising formed against him, Milosevic, having commanded Serbian armed forces, assumed the troops would blunt it. He was wrong. The military gave him no cover.
Now, imagine if Donald Trump got what he wanted Jan. 6. Imagine that Mike Pence refused to certify the results of the election. Imagine that Trump, like Milosevic, wouldn’t leave.
Instead of the insurrection that happened Jan. 6, we would have a whole other uprising. It would have taken a little longer to assemble, because unlike the one Trump himself stirred to violence that day, this one would come from every corner of our land as people found out that he who was defeated at the polls was going to ignore the fact.
I’m guessing that the troops Trump assumed were under his command would decide that they were under the voters’ command.
I’m imagining Don Jr., Eric, Ivanka, Jared and Kayleigh McEnany – armed only with their cell phones – giving up the ghost when the gates were breached by people who assumed elections have consequences.
Who would be the patriots then?
I imagine Ted Cruz speed-dialing his travel agent.
I imagine Josh Hawley hailing not a mob but a cab.
Yes, it’s a tough proposition when one can call an election, set a date for certification, count votes to the best of mankind’s abilities, and put an end to a corrupt administration.
In Haiti, whose president was just assassinated, the people don’t know who’s in charge now. Central to the discord that preceded the horrific events was a dispute over when the presidential term ended – that is before gunmen ended it.
Here, in America, we know when the president’s term ends. Until this past January we had never had a president refuse to acknowledge it.
Or an entire political party, for that matter.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.