Video Still: Rioters break into the Capitol.
Column By John Young
“We’re not letting the Capitol fall.”
Bravery before the imponderable – our democracy besieged by our own.
They are the words of a Capitol police officer captured on his body cam on Jan. 6 as pro-Trump terrorists besieged the seat of our government.
It was all so hard to grasp then. Everything from “Hang Mike Pence” to Donald Trump’s video love note to the rioters strained whatever credulity remained after four years of him.
Now, whatever atrocity escapes the lips of the ex-president and those of his chosen partisans – we can know the menace is real.
How soulless could anyone be to see what happened to those officers and say he’d pardon those who left them bleeding and battered on the Capitol steps?
Donald Trump said that.
What did those men and women do to be beaten to the edge of their demise? They showed up for work.
If the Proud Boys were the tip of the spear in this horrific moment, what befell the Capitol police embodies what has become a signature of Trumpism:
A war against public servants.
War against FBI agents for doing what a judge authorized.
War against the National Archives for doing what the law dictates.
War against Dr. Anthony Fauci for making science-based decisions.
War against local public health officials for doing the same.
As David Brooks writes in the New York Times, “The key criterion of the leadership in the Republican Party today is having the right enemies.”
And that amounts to just about all public institutions. All are embedded in the “deep state” that serves as Steve Bannon’s reason to sweep the sleep from his craggy eyes.
Did you hear the delicious canard about all those newly armed IRS agents coming after your money? One question, GOP: Isn’t arming one’s self (an AK, preferably) next to godliness? Why take away IRS agents’ fun?
Today, in the MAGA world, the “right enemies” are any public officials who won’t say Trump was cheated out of a second term in office.
That, of course, includes just about every secretary of state in the country. The crime each has committed is knowing how to add and subtract.
The same applies to local election officials. They have faced harassment and death threats for, by review, the crime of doing their jobs. They are the enemy because they won’t endorse Trump’s Big Lie.
An investigation by Reuters uncovered what it called a “campaign of fear against election administrators” with 800 intimidating messages to election officials in 14 states.
No one endured more harassment than two honest and dependable elections workers – Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss – whom Team MAGA accused of facilitating fraudulent votes.
In his infamous call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Trump called Freeman a “known political operative” and “professional vote scammer.” What else but more lies?
Freeman and her daughter were doing jobs they had done lovingly for years, as Moss explained in emotional testimony to the Jan. 6 Committee.
Fulton County investigators say Team Trump went so far as to try and frame the two by hiring a man to pose as someone with connections who could arrange an “immunity deal” with Freeman and Moss.
Amid all this, the two women endured death threats and online slander. As one MAGA warrior stated online, “Only a matter of time before some vengeful person slips in through an open window of Ruby Freeman’s home and bludgeons her to death.”
We can imagine that such an assailant would bank on a pardon after Donald Trump’s triumphant return.
No wonder elections offices and health districts are having trouble filling key posts. With MAGA watching, serving the public can be hazardous to your health.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author.