Sinclair Lewis, a onetime Courier reporter fired after a month for being too radical (which he recounted while accepting the 1930 Nobel Prize for Literature), supposedly once stated, “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”
Fascism came Wednesday draped in Trump and Confederate flags hoisted in the U.S. Capitol by a mob wearing Trump, MAGA, QAnon and Camp Auschwitz shirts and trying to derail certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.
The face of fascism — not respect for the rule of law — is President Donald Trump, quick to embrace the flag while denigrating military leaders and cloaking himself in faux religiosity.
Trump alerted his Army of the Gullible to an assault on the peaceful transfer of power Dec. 19, tweeting, “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, be wild!”
Then he incited them Wednesday, “We’re going to walk down there (to the Capitol), and I’ll be there with you,” as Rudy Giuliani implored, “Let’s have trial by combat.”
Instead, Trump watched on TV while his “very special people” desecrated the Capitol. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone reportedly warned staffers not to engage in treason.
The Grifter-in-Chief — fomenter of more than 20,000 lies — has spent a lifetime perfecting fibs.
While becoming King of Bankruptcies in the 1990s — Trump casinos, airlines, magazine, steaks, vodka, board game and GoTrump.com — he asked Vanity Fair’s Marie Brenner, “Do you think I’m in trouble?” She replied, “They think you’re finished.”
Not so, said his lawyer. “Donald is a believer in the big-lie theory. If you say something again and again, people will believe you.”
His lie about a stolen election was debunked in Republican-controlled states and by Trump-appointed judges. Harvard Law School’s Laurence Tribe cited a 1-61 record for Trump’s conspiracy-addled attorneys by late December.
Surprise! Evidence apparently is a prerequisite to prevail.
Trump’s Homeland Security chief of elections and attorney general found no fraud of consequence, quickly adding “former” to their titles.
The Seditionist faction in the Republican Party enabled him, putting democracy on a precipice, even after Trump begged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “recalculate” three hand-counted tallies so he could win by a vote.
Unlike the Seditionists, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, had a strong spine.
“We gather today due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action,” he said Wednesday.
As for appeasing Trump’s followers, he added, “The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller passed on prosecuting Trump because of a Justice Department memorandum that a sitting president could only be impeached.
Fomenting an insurrection should qualify under high crimes and misdemeanors.
Republicans can choose to honor the U.S. Constitution or cower before Trump’s mob. What’s their brand: Spine or Sedition? History won’t be kind if this Congress doesn’t take meaningful action.
Saul Shapiro is the retired editor of The Courier, living in Cedar Falls.