Republicans claim to be the party of morality and personal responsibility, yet Republican members of Congress are already insisting that Democrats let bygones be bygones. They say that holding our criminal president accountable for the insurrection by removing him from office would only antagonize the rabid, radical right, i.e. millions of Republican voters, which would lead to more violence. Fortunately, a few Congressional Republicans have announced they support impeachment, not appeasement.
Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post argues that there are several ways to unify the nation and begin healing:
The furniture the seditionists smashed in the Capitol has not yet been repaired. The trauma inflicted on those who experienced the event will not vanish for months or years. . . . And neither President Txxxx nor a single Republican lawmaker who held aloft the sedition banner in Congress by objecting to electoral votes has apologized. Nevertheless, Republicans are calling for unity and demanding healing, which entails “moving on” and forgetting about impeachment. . . .
Sorry, it does not work that way. Healing requires accountability and remorse from those who attacked our democracy, stormed the Capitol (or incited, funded or supported the mob) and set out to overthrow our democracy. The culprits do not get to set the timeline for reconciliation before they can be held responsible for their participation in an attempted coup.
Lots of things would be unifying or provide healing. Let’s start with these:
The House and Senate could unanimously affirm there was no irregularity or fraud in the election that would have changed the outcome of the presidential vote one iota.
The House could impeach Trump, and the Senate could come back in session to hold a trial and remove him swiftly.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who pulled his caucus over the cliff in the desperate hope to maintain the Big Lie and cater to Trump, could resign.
A combination of Democrats and all Republicans who voted to certify the electoral college results in the House and Senate could expel or censure members who objected to certification. As my colleague Michael Scherer writes, “The central question now hovering over America’s political landscape is whether one of its two major parties will allow itself to function as an extension of QAnon and other online conspiracy theory movements that have taken hold with a vocal segment of the GOP, or if it can emerge from the Txxxx era as a potential governing coalition built around ideas and some shared agreement on facts.” This action would help settle that question.
Corporate donors could permanently cut off support for anyone who objected to the electoral votes, an attack on our democracy.
Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms could volunteer to make entirely transparent how they “curate content” and how their “algorithms decide what speech to amplify,” as Yaël Eisenstat, a former Facebook executive, suggests. We should find out how they “nudge users towards the content that will keep them engaged … [and] connect users to hate groups, who recommend conspiracy theorists.” The companies could also agree to follow the guidelines recommended by the Stop Hate for Profit campaign headed by the Anti-Defamation League and major corporate advertisers.
A nonpartisan commission could determine the extent to which state and federal law enforcement has been infiltrated by adherents of violent extremist groups. (The Post reports, “At least two U.S. Capitol Police officers have been suspended and more than a dozen others are under investigation for suspected involvement with or inappropriate support for the Wednesday demonstration that turned into a deadly riot at the Capitol, according to two congressional officials briefed on the developments.”)
Right-wing media outlets, pundits, talk-show personalities and TV hosts who perpetrated the lie that there was widespread election fraud could retract their statements and affirm there is no factual basis for these assertions.
The voters in the 18 states whose attorneys general filed a brief to throw out other states’ electoral votes could recall or vote out these officials.
That should be enough to get us started. Beyond that, there are many good ideas for enhancing civics education, media literacy and access to voting on a permanent basis (e.g., pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act; make available universal, secure voting by mail). You can never have too much healing.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee today released a 70-page document, “Materials in Support of H. Res. 24, Impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for High Crimes and Misdemeanors”. It says “Impeachment is not a punishment of prior wrongs, but a protection against future evils” (which would include Donnie being president again).
The third-ranking House Republican, the ultra-conservative Liz Cheney, released a statement:
Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough. The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.
I will vote to impeach the President.
The acting US attorney for the District of Columbia, Michael Sherwin, has indicated that many amid the hundreds of pro-Txxxx rioters who violently invaded the US Capitol . . . are suspected in a “mind-blowing” range of crimes, including felony murder and sedition and conspiracy.
There are at least 160 federal criminal cases open. [He said the FBI and other agencies] are ready to track down individuals all across the country, apprehend them wherever possible and arrest hundreds if not thousands of people.
“The range of criminal conduct was unmatched,” Sherwin said. He warned lawbreakers “You will be charged and you will be found.”
Yes, let the healing begin!