Mike Pence, My Hero. Wait! What?
One of the bizarre consequences of the Trump Era is that I have found myself being profoundly grateful to people who I was very used to seeing as my enemies:
I’ve been cursing these creeps my whole life for hounding MLK and other radical activists. Then, in 2016, I felt so thankful to them for investigating Russia’s (successful) attempt to get Trump elected. Okay, nothing came of it. But Mueller really tried.
Not only is she a right-wing Republican and the daughter of Satan, she threw her lesbian sister under the bus in order to get elected to Congress! I really enjoyed hating her! And now… and now… I am blown away by her courage. She turned her back on her party and is one of the leaders of the investigation into the events on January 6! Who knew?
And now… and now…
Vice President Mike Pence
Mike Pence was unredeemable. A soulless evangelical Christian. Who is Whiter than Mike Pence? Nobody! And he’s against every advance in human rights that we’ve fought for — abortion rights, gay marriage. At one point when he was out of elective office, he traveled the country trying to destroy Planned Parenthood.
And yet, in the hearings last Thursday of the Select Committee to investigate the events of January 6, I learned that Pence stood up to a relentless campaign by President Trump to undo the election of Biden.
According to the Constitution, on January 6 Congress counts the Electoral College votes for President, Then, the current Vice President certifies the count. His function is purely ceremonial. He has no say in who is elected President.
In the days leading up to this ceremony, President Trump tried to bully Pence to refuse to certify the election of Biden and send the election back to the states for a recount or even a re-vote.
Nothing like that has ever happened in our history. And for good reason. It’s a totally senseless idea because it would mean that the Vice President had the power to choose the next President! But no matter that the idea was “rubber room stuff,” as Pence put it. (A rubber room is where very crazy people are temporarily put. The rubber walls prevent them from hurting themselves.)
Many aides and lawyers explained to Trump how ludicrous his plan was — “tantamount to a revolution within a constitutional crisis,” according to the testimony of one conservative judge. But Trump found one lawyer, John Eastman, who thought it was a dandy idea, so the President forged ahead with his plan to batter his Vice President into submission.
Pence never wavered in his refusal to go along. Even when Trump told him, “You can be a patriot or a pussy,” Pence stood his ground. Yes, Trump warned Pence that history would condemn him as the lowest of the low — a WOMAN.
Somehow, Pence withstood that terrible threat.
And on the day itself, the mob, encouraged by Trump, invaded the Capitol and did temporarily disrupt the counting of the electoral votes. They had proudly built a gallows for the Vice President outside, and they chanted “Hang Mike Pence” as they smashed windows, and poured in, searching for him.
Pence’s security wanted to put him into a car and get him out of the Capitol completely. But Pence refused. He didn’t want to give the mob the satisfaction of seeing him drive away. He was supposed to certify the electoral vote on January 6. And he was damn well going to stay there and do his job.
In the photo above, Pence is in hiding within the Capitol. I can’t believe that his security people didn’t think to close the curtains immediately, but it seems that his wife was the first one. There’s something so homey about that moment.
It’s hard to imagine what might have happened if Pence had submitted to Trump’s pressure and created “a revolution within a constitutional crisis.” At one point, he said to his aides, “This might be the most important thing I ever do.” He understood what history demanded of him.
On January 6, he risked his life for our deeply flawed democracy.
Mike Pence, my hero. It’s hard for me to get my brain around it. But there it is.
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