Kevin Siers puts our current crisis in plain terms: We’ve somehow become involved in an argument in which the concept of justice has been placed in the dock, forced to prove itself innocent rather than, as in both English Common Law and our own traditional system, being assumed innocent until proven guilty.
And it’s not simply a political debate over principles. As Chris Britt (Creators) says, it’s an organized, coordinated attack on the government and the justice system themselves.
The FBI, under the direction of the Justice Department, executed a fully legal, properly documented search for classified records, completely within the limitations of the Fourth Amendment, but is being attacked by a unified Republican Party and their loyalist media, as if the laws of the country had no standing when applied to a Republican party member.
And their “Four legs good, two legs better” chant is being accepted by the mob, as noted in this
Juxtaposition of the Day
I’ve argued for some time that “Animal Farm” is a better guide than “1984” to what is happening in America. People enjoy quoting 1984 because they identify with Winston Smith’s futile rebellion against the constant surveillance and disinformation of Big Brother, but Animal Farm documents the passive acceptance that makes such autocracy possible.
You may, like Winston Smith, bridle under Big Brother’s thumb, but what are you actually doing about it? We all imagine what we would do to the purse snatcher or the racist bully, but the sad fact is, the vast majority of people, if they find themselves in such a situation, are frozen into inaction until the moment is past.
Or, in the words of Mike Tyson, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
The few who have the presence of mind — or perhaps the absence of mind — to step up in a moment of crisis are far outnumbered not just by those petrified by indecision but, more critically, those who do nothing, and who do not question the newly edited motto on the barn wall, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”
And who stand gazing through the window, puzzled and transfixed, as their one-time revolutionary leaders become indistinguishable from those against whom they supposedly rebelled.
As Ann Telnaes documents, Trump’s arrogant rejection of laws and limitations is not a recent development. He began his administration with a blatant, ridiculous, easily disproven lie about the size of the crowd at his inauguration, together with a farcical press conference supposedly explaining how his business would be carefully cordoned off to avoid unethical profiteering.
Things went downhill from there, as we learned that two legs were better than four, and that the Trumps were more equal than others, and, as in Animal Farm, the other animals were whipped up with the notion that they were part of a glorious revolution, even as they were being carted off to the rendering plant.
As Jeffrey Isaac points out in this Bulwark article, those who have been flummoxed into believing they are part of the 1776 revolutionary tradition are, in fact, fighting on behalf of the king, not the colonists.
He quotes the original rebels of 1776 to make the point that none of them wanted a king and the notion of a supreme leader, above the law, was the exact opposite of their intentions.
For instance, Thomas Paine wrote
It is, Mike Smith (KFS) points out, absurd to suggest that Trump’s possession of classified information was some innocent oversight.
The loyalist argument that he simply didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to wander off with such things falls apart when he claims — and has an attorney declare — that he had returned the documents prior to the raid.
This is not a mistake. It’s a lie.
And whether the attorney who attested to that lie is in legal trouble, or was simply reporting what the client said, is fascinating but irrelevant, except insofar as Trump is apparently beginning to find it difficult to hire competent legal aid.
But who cares? As Adam Zyglis points out, the people who fainted over accusations of unethical policing in Black neighborhoods, and who posted lawn signs declaring that “Blue Lives Matter,” are not only demanding that the FBI be defunded but have turned against the Capitol Police injured by mob violence and are doxxing the officers who participated in the legal search of Mar A Lago.
Nor is the warfare simply directed against the police.
How many times can such accusations be disproven before an innocent mistake becomes an outright lie?
As for the rare Winston Smith who dares speak up, here’s what happens to Winston Smith:
Juxtaposition of the Day #2
It’s not just that Wyoming voters failed to support Liz Cheney. Even incumbents lose votes now and then, and she knew she was going against the flock when she insisted that nobody is more equal than anybody else.
But, while Byrnes presents the rejection as a Big Brotherly decision, Bramhall brings to mind the bar room wisecrack, “I’ve been thrown out of better places.”
And to cite history in place of literature, there were those who joined Captain Bligh in the longboat not because they admired him, but because risking death on that 3,600 mile journey was preferable to aligning with mutineers.
Which brings us to
Juxtaposition of the Day #3
Asked and answered: Yes, they’re cheering for the bull, or, copying Wyoming’s iconic license plate, the bronco.
As Steve Kelley (Creators) approvingly points out, the reasoning of MAGAt voters is that those who stand up for the rule of law must therefore be Democrats, and patriotic Americans hate Democrats.
It’s an issue of loyalty, which brings to mind another book of terrifying relevance, “Catch-22,” in which greed, bureaucracy and incompetence create a hellscape made worse by a perverted vision of mandatory patriotism.
But Yossarian, like Winston Smith, is only the canary in that coal mine.
Our problem is not canaries, but sheep.