Two Brave Women

THE FIRST BRAVE WOMAN

“I have set a personal goal to pursue a path of civic significance.” - Cassidy Hutchinson, being interviewed for her college newspaper.

I am not a person who watches TV, including hearings on TV. I didn’t watch the Watergate hearings or the Anita Hill hearings. I was content to read about them in the paper the next day. I did spend a day with the 2nd impeachment hearings. I only watched the first of these Jan. 6 Committee hearings because my houseguests were watching. That was enough. I was hooked:

The truth is finally coming out!

The Monster Toddler is going to jail!

I’m witnessing history!

Now I arrange my schedule around the hearings. I must see them live. I have made a ritual of setting up my little computer in the kitchen on a box so it doesn’t get dirty while I cook, slicing vegetables and stirring pots of beans, as I watch.

So, needless to say, the announcement of a surprise witness for Tuesday got my adrenaline pumping. And Cassidy Hutchinson, 25 and calm and beautiful, truly delivered the goods. I was spellbound.

She was the aide to Trump’s last Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows. Her office was between Meadow’s office and the Oval Office. According to the Washington Post, Meadows included her in all important meetings. She was “in the room where it happened” both literally and metaphorically long before January 6.

She was most crucially backstage where it happened — on the stage on the Ellipse where Trump’s rally was about to begin. The President was furious that the crowd wasn’t as big as he expected. When he was told that many of his supporters couldn’t come into the ellipse because they were not allowed to bring their weapons through the metal detectors — magnetometers, called “mags” for short — he was outraged.

According to the NY Times:

“Mr. Trump, Hutchinson testified, said “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags away. Let the people in, they can march to the Capitol from here.’”

These words, which Hutchinson herself heard the President say, make it clear that the President:

  • knew that his followers had weapons — “knives, pistols, rifles, bear spray, body armor, spears, and flagpoles,” among other things,
  • knew that he himself was not endangered by these armed men, which brings up the possibility that he knew they might endanger others, and
  • wanted these armed followers to march to the Capitol.

This is by far the most incriminating part of Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony. This testimony alone could lead to criminal charges.

Ah! The smoking gun at last! Or shall I say another smoking gun? How many smoking guns do we need?

He knew! He intended! Can we please have our indictment now, Attorney General Garland? Pretty please??!!!??

Hutchinson was also the fly on the wall when White House Counsel Pat Cipollone begged Meadows to make Trump calm the mob. At that point, they were chanting “Hang Pence!” According to Hutchinson, this is how Mark Meadows replied:

“Mark had responded something to the effect of, ‘You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike [Pence] deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.”

So if the mob had killed Pence (which they probably would have if they’d found him), that would have been fine with Trump? Unbelievable. What’s even more unbelievable is that Trump was completely open about it. How stupid is that? No matter how low Trump goes, he can always go lower. There is no bottom for him.

But then, why should there be? His whole life, he’s gotten away with every single thing. Everything except overturning the election.

It was one revelation after another. Who will ever forget the little sidebar story of Hutchinson wiping catsup off the White House dining room wall during earlier days? This particular catsup was on the hamburger that Trump threw during his tantrum when he found out that his own Attorney General had declared that there was no fraud in the 2020 election. Apparently Trump was inclined toward tantrums where he threw food and broke dishes.

I’m grateful for Cassidy Hutchinson’s breathtaking memory of all the details of January 6, and her serious demeanor, which made her testimony totally believable. I also deeply appreciate her use of the word “disgust” to describe her feelings about Trump’s behavior on January 6. Thank you, Ms. Hutchinson. Those of us who have been disgusted for going on six years are glad to have that word in the Congressional Record.

But nevertheless, despite the wonder of Hutchinson’s testimony, I started pondering whether she and all the other witnesses I had heard were truly “courageous,” as they are routinely described by Committee Chairman Thompson. After all, they’re Trump enablers or they wouldn’t have been on the scene! They witnessed Trump commit crimes and they didn’t let out a peep until they were subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 Committee! During the Impeachment hearings, they kept their mouths shut. Why didn’t they come forward then? THAT would have taken COURAGE. Maybe they’re talking now because they can see the Trump ship finally sinking and they’re just trying to save their asses.

And what about Cassidy Hutchinson? She’s so unlike the other witnesses, almost all of whom are older white men. She’s as beautiful as a movie star. She’s obviously a person of extraordinary ability to have risen so fast and far at such a young age. An office a five-second walk from the Oval Office, at the age of 23? Not too shabby!

And after everything she witnessed, she says she was worried that Trump was tarnishing his “legacy.” What legacy? His legacy of separating young children from their parents at the border and building a half-assed border wall, for starters? Cassidy Hutchinson obviously agreed with what Trump did as President! Does she truly regret her support for him now? I do believe she’s being courageous to be testifying. But perhaps she’s also making a brilliant career move at the same time.

For whatever reason, by the time the hearing ended, I was depressed. Maybe the cumulative effect of all the hearings had just done me in. I was left mired in my own swamp of disgust. . It was only noon, but all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and forget about the world. So I did, and I slept for the rest of the day.

I stayed mired in depression until the next day when I watched the Tuesday night Stephen Colbert show on Youtube.

THE SECOND BRAVE WOMAN

Colbert’s guest was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, aka AOC. He had invited her to talk about the Supreme Court decision about abortion, neither of them knowing the bombshell testimony for the Jan. 6 Committee that would occur earlier that day.

I adore AOC. Just seeing her lifted my spirits. (Should you doubt her credentials as a brave woman, please click here to watch the speech she gave on the floor of the House after another Representative called her “a fucking bitch.”)

First Colbert and AOC discussed that day’s Jan. 6 Committee hearings. One of the many bombshells not heretofore mentioned by me was Ms. Hutchinson naming all the Congressional representatives who had asked Trump for preemptive pardons (which he failed to give them, by the way). AOC said that asking for a pardon is equivalent to confessing to a crime. I did not know this. But it makes sense. Because, after all, why would you need a pardon otherwise? AOC said, for starters, as confessed criminals all of them should be booted out of Congress. for starters, she emphasized. AOC is all about taking action.

Then Colbert and AOC moved on to the Supreme Court and abortion. AOC said that the three branches of the federal government — President, Congress, and Supreme Court — are co-equal. She said that it was the responsibility of the other two branches to restrain any one branch that was getting carried away with its power. Obviously, the current Supreme Court is absolutely drunk on its 6–3 right-wing majority.

AOC: (Not exact quote) “I look to history for solutions. What did Lincoln do when the Supreme Court made the terrible Dred Scott decision, which deprived all African-Americans, whether enslaved or free, of citizenship? Lincoln responded with the Emancipation Proclamation! And what did FDR do when the Supreme Court was busy declaring all the programs of the New Deal unconstitutional? He campaigned for expanding the number of Supreme Court justices! Although that campaign didn’t succeed, it had a lot of popular support. And it made the current justices pull back from their right-wing activist decisions. I think, (says AOC) that Biden should campaign to expand the Court!”

I love this woman. She inspires me. She educates me. She shows me how to change things. My depression had completely evaporated by this point.

And then, Colbert introduced a new subject: “A certain person will be turning 35 one month before the 2024 Presidential election…”

Yes, Alexandria Octavio-Cortez will be old enough to run for President next time.

You don’t have to be 35 to run. You just have to be 35 before the election.

And AOC laughed and squirmed in her seat and protested that she was focussed on democracy and her constituents’ needs and all that jazz…

But she didn’t say no, she would not run.

Oh, I tell you, I was high on hope after that! When I mentioned the possibility of President AOC to a friend, she replied, “But what about Stacey Abrams?”

At first, I was trying to figure out which one I wanted more. But then I realized that is our one-two punch! I figure, with eight years of Abrams (AOC as VP), followed by eight years of AOC as President — I do believe we could turn this damn country around!

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Terry Baum

Terry Baum

Terry Baum is an actress, director, teacher, filmmaker, political activist, and award-winning lesbian playwright. Her blog BAUMBLOG is a “Top 100 LGBTQ Blog.”