One down, one to go.
The House Managers wrapped it up yesterday. Charlie Pierce.
Any congressional session in 2021 that ends with someone quoting Tom Paine about why tyranny is like hell because it is not easily conquered is bound to grab my attention. So, it was a startler when Rep. Jamie Raskin wrapped up the impeachment managers’ case for conviction of the former president* by citing that particular passage in reference to the former president*’s incitement of the insurrection of January 6. It also functioned as a warning that, conviction or no, the actual insurrection is as alive and contagious in the country as the pandemic is. After all, recent polling indicates that a majority of Republicans still believe that El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago was cheated out of his “very great landslide” victory. That’s not going away, and there’s no apparent appetite among Republicans to do away from it. And, in the end, Raskin hung one last anchor around all their necks.
Tom Paine wasn’t an American, but he came to help us in our great revolutionary struggle against the kings, and queens, and the tyrants. In 1776, in the crisis, he wrote these beautiful words, it was a very tough time for the country, people didn’t know which way things were going to go. Were we going to win, against all hope? Because for most of the rest of human history, it had been the kings and queens and tyrants and nobles lording it over the common people. Could political self-government work in America, was the question.
And Paine wrote this pamphlet called “The Crisis,” and he said these beautiful words…He said, “These are the times that men and women’s souls. The summer soldier and sunshine patriot will shrink at this moment from the service of their cause and their country, but everyone who stands with us now will win the love and favor and affection of every man and every woman for all time. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered, but we have this saving consolation: the more difficult the struggle, the more glorious in the end will be our victory.
Good luck in your deliberations.
What he meant was, good luck living with your consciences after you vote to acquit this guy. You’re betraying everything this country has claimed to believe about itself all the way back to its founding. And you’re doing it on behalf of someone who gladly would’ve welcomed a bloodbath if it kept him in office. As far as summer soldiers go, you guys have established a permanent beachhead in Cancun.
There is no contesting the facts of the case brought by the House managers. What happened at the Capitol was anything except spontaneous. It was the logical, foreseeable end of a campaign to delegitimize any election result that didn’t include the incumbent’s winning re-election. And the incumbent embarked on that campaign full in the knowledge that chaos was his best weapon and only chance, and he pursued the campaign whether it got his own vice president strung up or not. Thursday’s wrap-up presentation leaned strongly into demonstrating that the former president* welcomed the violence, and was completely uninterested in acting to defend the Capitol no matter how many frantic phone calls came in from senators who were hiding under their desks at the time. As manager Rep. Joe Neguse of Colorado argued:
He reacted exactly the way someone would react if they were delighted, and exactly unlike how a person would react if they were angry how their followers were acting. Again, ask yourself how many lives would have been saved? How much pain and trauma would have been avoided if he had reacted in a way the President of the United States is supposed to act?
Senators, the evidence is clear. We showed you statements, videos, affidavits that prove President Trump incited an insurrection — an insurrection that he alone had the power to stop. And the fact that he didn’t stop it, the fact that he incited a lawless attack and abdicated his duty to defend us from it, the fact that he actually further inflamed the mob, further inflamed that mob, attacking his vice president while assassins were pursuing him in this Capitol, more than requires conviction and disqualification.
On Friday, the former president*’s legal team will go through the motions of rebutting the massive amount of evidence presented by the managers. They won’t even try that hard. They don’t have to. The summer soldiers have their back.