I am so damn proud of us.
I watched all the hearings of the January 6 Committee live. I was spellbound the whole time. Now the hearings are over, and I want to look back, savor this amazing phenomenon, and the courageous people who testified… People like:
- Officer CAROLYN EDWARDS of the Capitol Police, who was knocked unconscious twice. Both times, she woke up, and returned to the fray.
- Georgia election worker, SHAYE MOSS who testified to the harassment and terror she experienced after Trump and Giuliani accused her of subverting the vote count. Shaye’s mother, election worker Ruby Freeman, suffered and testified with great passion and anger.
- Commission Chairman BENNIE THOMPSON whose magisterial presence lent a gravitas to the proceedings. Representing Mississippi in Congress, without saying a word, Thompson was a constant reminder of the recent past when Black people in Mississippi were kept from voting.
- CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, an aide to Trump’s Chief of Staff, who was on the outdoor podium for Trump’s rally. She witnessed his fury when he was told that people with guns were being barred by the metal detectors. He demanded they be let in: “They’re not here to hurt me.”
- Representative LIZ CHENEY, Vice-Chair of the January 6 Committee, who was a rising star in the Republican Party when she chose to sacrifice her political career in order to participate in this effort to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for the insurrection, particularly then-President Trump.
Ya done good, January 6 Committee. What an exciting and moving story you told. It was the tale of a battle between an evil man who wished to become a dictator, and the courageous people who believed in democracy and refused to kowtow to his will.
I’m proud of everyone on the Committee, I’m proud of our democratic system that gives elected representatives the power to compel people to testify. I’m proud of everyone who testified, especially those who were reluctant. Let us never forget that almost everyone who testified was a Republican. It was not in their political interest to speak to the Committee. Some did refuse to testify, although they were legally bound to do it. Some did testify and incessantly pleaded the Fifth Amendment, contributing nothing. So, every single witness who testified fully and honestly chose to do it.
I am so proud of the Democratic Party. I’ve been waiting forever for them to stand up on their hind legs and fight for what they believe. What a tremendous, disciplined, brilliant, powerful effort this was!
I’m proud of Speaker Pelosi for refusing to accept two Republican election-deniers on the Committee. Her action provoked Minority leader McCarthy to pull the Republicans out of the committee entirely. Thank you, Rep. McCarthy, for being so stupid! And thank you, Speaker Pelosi, for whatever you did behind the scenes to shape the hearings.
I’m proud of Jamie Raskin who, when offered the vice-chairmanship of the Committee, suggested that Liz Cheney would be a better choice, according to a fascinating NY Times article in the Sunday, Jan. 1 Magazine. What kind of integrity does it take to turn down a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity, for the sake of making the project stronger?
I’m proud of all the television people who knew how to create compelling and entertaining hearings. Let’s face it, folks, that’s one of our national strengths: being entertaining.
And, after reading the New York Times article, I’m especially proud of Liz Cheney, someone who I used to hate. As of today, she is no longer in Congress. Cheney had the most to lose by being on the Committee. And she lost it. She lost the race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Representative in her Wyoming district by a whopping 37%. That’s quite a downfall for a popular incumbent.
According to the Times, Cheney was the indefatigable bulldog on the committee, interviewing witness after witness herself, insisting on shaping the committee’s path in ways that raised the hackles of others. It is Cheney who insisted that the Committee make criminal referrals for Trump and others. This idea was condemned by some as an empty symbolic gesture, since the Committee has no power to indict anyone. But, with the backing of Chairman Thompson, Cheney pushed it through. In retrospect, the criminal referrals feel historic, and an essential pressure on the Department of Justice to make the indictments the Committee cannot.
To be honest, when the hearings began, I did not believe that Trump conspired to bring the insurrection about. I honestly thought that the insurrection just kind of happened. There was a rally and then things got out of hand. I could not comprehend that Trump would actually plan to make it happen, in a last desperate attempt to remain in office. I am so deeply grateful to everyone involved in the hearings for enlightening me. What an incredible journey it has been.
I believe the January 6 Committee hearings are a model, not just for our own country, but for the whole world. When Judge Michael Luttig, a renowned conservative jurist, testified before the committee, he had this to say:
“The Congress had the highest obligation to conduct these hearings. And the hearings themselves have been historic, and perhaps never to be replicated.”
I am so damn proud of us.
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