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Jan. 6 committee furthers the trend of people presumed guilty. Plus, abortion back to states.
By Gary Abernathy
Jan. 6 committee furthers the presumption of guilt trend
After much media excitement this week over identifying Republican members of Congress who had asked Donald Trump for pardons in regard to Jan. 6, 2021, Adam Kinzinger, one of the two Republicans appointed to the Jan. 6 committee by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, actually made this comment: "The only reason you ask for a pardon is if you think you've committed a crime.”
Note to self: Do not let Adam Kinzinger sit on anyone’s jury.
Such a blatant pre-judgment of Kinzinger’s fellow congressional members is par for the course in recent years. In fact, there are several reasons aside from guilt that Republicans may have sought pardons, and one was provided late in the day Thursday from Mo Brooks, congressman from Alabama who just lost his Senate primary race in that state. Brooks had sent a letter on Jan. 11, 2021 to the White House asking Trump to consider issuing pardons. The letter, apparently shared by Brooks this week with CBS News, was shared on Twitter yesterday by Robert Costa of the New York Times.
Brooks wrote, "It is clear that deep-pocketed and vitriolic Socialist Democrats (with perhaps some liberal Republican help) are going to abuse America's judicial system by targeting numerous Republicans with sham charges deriving from our recent fight for honest and accurate elections, and speeches related thereto... America simply cannot permit Socialist Democrats to abuse Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Association, United States Constitutions and various federal statutes via their often-used strategy of abusing the judicial process via private organizations they fund or the prosecutorial arm they will soon control."
Now, I’m among those who don’t believe the evidence shows any reason to believe that the 2020 election was not honest and accurate. I think Joe Biden won, Donald Trump lost. But I don’t vilify those who disagree with me.
And Brooks is right — in this political atmosphere, Republicans in Congress who questioned the election results had every reason to worry that some Democrats “are going to abuse” the judicial system “by targeting numerous Republicans with sham charges” based on speaking out against the election results. Some would argue that the Jan. 6 committee hearings are doing exactly that. So asking for pardons seemed like a better idea than having to spend tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees defending yourself against spurious charges.
Of course, Trump did not issue such pardons. If asking for pardons indicates guilt on the part of those who asked for them, does refusing to issue pardons indicate innocence on Trump’s part? I haven’t heard anyone else in the media making that suggestion.
The presence of Kinzinger (Ill.) and Liz Cheney (Wyo.) is supposedly what makes the Jan. 6 committee “bipartisan.” But word comes this week that Cheney is resorting to asking Democrats to switch to the GOP to vote for her in her August primary. Little mystery why most Republicans don’t consider Kinzinger and Cheney to be adequate representatives for their point of view. Primaries are designed for the party faithful to choose who they want to represent their party. Cheney knows Republicans in Wyoming aren’t going to choose her, so she’s asking Democrats to game the system. It won’t work — as one person said, if every Democrat switched and voted for Cheney she still wouldn’t win — but her strategy reveals the desire to keep power by whatever means necessary.
My latest piece in the Washington Post sums up what’s going on with the Jan. 6 committee hearings — as the New York Times had noted, they are a chance for Democrats to “recast” their midterm election messaging.
Throughout the hearings, there have been no alternative views presented, no reminders that after 2016, the left and some disenfranchised Republicans engaged in plenty of election denials, calling Trump an illegitimate president who won office thanks to Russian propaganda. Likewise, we should ignore the growing socialist influences in the Democratic Party, the calls for payback against Supreme Court rulings, and the recent frightening threats and acts of intimidation against conservative justices. “Clear and present,” it seems, is in the eye of the beholder.
And part of the effort to indict the whole Republican Party is to convince voters that only Democrats can be trusted. It coincides with a growing media trend to do the same thing.
The movement to declare the GOP an authoritarian danger is a step leading not to any national agreement on threats to democracy, but rather toward further polarization. The Jan. 6 hearings are yet another example of a political, cultural and media landscape already separated by a yawning chasm — liberals governing and reporting only for liberals, conservatives governing and reporting only for conservatives, and each side accusing the other of presenting a clear and present danger to democracy. It is not some future dystopian nightmare. It is here.
These hearings too often devolve into recitations of things that Donald Trump almost did. Trump often was inclined to do reckless things, but he was also clearly open to being talked out of them, as testimony has shown. Considering things is not a crime.
Abortion will only end when hearts and minds are changed
Earlier this year, a draft of the Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion, as it pertains to Roe v. Wade, was leaked to much attention and reaction from the left and right. Today, the court made overturning Roe v. Wade official. Now, it’s a state-by-state issue.
In a column last year, after the court had agreed to take up the matter of abortion in a way that led to predictions that Roe v. Wade might be in danger, I wrote a piece explaining why the fact that the court is more conservative was not the only reason to revisit the issue.
Religious and conservative opinions aside, here’s what I wrote explaining why I think the tide is turning on the abortion question.
Advances in prenatal care are sometimes used to argue in favor of abortion, as when Down syndrome markers are identified. In some U.S. medical circles, there’s a troubling notion that a Down syndrome diagnosis should trigger terminating a pregnancy, and the practice is even more prevalent in other countries. It’s an attitude at odds with those parents who testify to the special joy such children bring to their families and the productive lives they often lead.
But overall, the leaps and bounds in prenatal science since 1973 are making it increasingly difficult to suggest that an unborn child is merely an impersonal fetus — a clump of tissue — or part of a woman’s body like an organ. Doctors today can repair or stabilize an unborn child’s defects in the womb, from tumors on the lungs to holes in the diaphragm to spina bifida to various heart defects. High-tech software that produces images in the earliest weeks of fetal development are astounding in their detail as these small humans are visibly, as the psalmist put it, “knit together.”
In this age of in utero medical miracles, the notion that the difference between termination or the gift of life is whether a baby is wanted seems increasingly absurd. It’s a standard we wouldn’t tolerate at any other stage of existence.
You can read the whole column here.
As someone who considers himself pro-life, I’m happy about the court’s ruling. But I’ve always worried less about the laws of the land than the hearts of people. Abortion will not end because we outlaw it. Abortion will end when the demand for it dries up. To accomplish that, more hearts and minds need to be changed.
Congrats to New York for gaining equal rights
The Supreme Court earlier this week struck down a New York law requiring people to show good cause to own a handgun. It basically said that being a law-abiding American who wants to defend him or herself is reason enough. Outstanding.
Don’t be frightened, it’s only me on ‘Beyond the Beltway’
As they say on social media, LOL. Sorry about that alarming frozen screen grab from my appearance Sunday night on “Beyond the Beltway” with Bruce DuMont and company. It moves off quickly if you click on it, promise!
I enjoyed spending an hour discussing the Jan. 6 committee, the media’s coverage of Trump Country, and other political news with Bruce and company. The syndicated show provides and opportunity for thoughtful, long-form discussion on the topics of the day, with various points of view presented. Imagine that.
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