Physicists and sci-fi authors often posit alternate universes. Parallel selves or others inhabit space we believe to be ours. Fantasy? Not in America.
Last Friday, the Republican National Committee censured Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyoming) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Illinois) for serving on the House select committee investigating January 6. According to the RNC, they “are participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse . . .” [italics mine].
I called my ophthalmologist. On January 6, 2021, I watched for hours as CNN televised the developments on Capitol Hill. I thought I’d witnessed a mob break into the Capitol, damage property and attack Capitol police. Was my eyesight going?
Some might claim CNN’s coverage was bogus, provoked by the Deep State to discredit Donald Trump, who’d just rallied thousands of followers to march on the Capitol. Peaceful protestors obviously held aloft rolled-up copies of the Constitution, not weapons. Security personnel welcomed them. Some in the mob—crowd—sought only to gift Vice-President Mike Pence with a rope should he plan a mountaineering expedition. My eyes betrayed me.
Yet last Friday, Pence mentioned the only universe I know. Addressing conservatives near Orlando, Florida, he said, “President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election.”
Support for my vision continued.
The Wall Street Journal praised Pence while advising, “Too many in the GOP seem to have lost their constitutional moorings in thrall to one man.”
Chris Christie—once a Trump advisor—cast another vote for existence as I know it. “January 6 was a riot that was incited by Donald Trump in an effort to intimidate Mike Pence and the Congress into doing exactly what he said in his own words last week—overturn the election.”
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky) rebuked the RNC, calling January 6 “a violent insurrection.” Republican Senator Mitt Romney (Utah) also condemned the resolution as did 140 former Republican political leaders and officials.
Fortunately, many people live in the universe I recognize. A bipartisan group of senators seeks to reform the confusing Electoral Count Act, which dates back to 1887. This particular matter invites a serious question: Will Progressives cling to their own alternate universe? Or, will they support this legislation, acknowledging that a reform journey of a thousand miles might begin with a single step?
Once, most Americans would have considered unimaginable the political behavior we’ve witnessed since Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Yes, many Americans long have loved conspiracies. Granted, some cover-ups have been documented, like the Tuskegee syphilis experiment (1932-72) and sex abuse in the Catholic Church. But “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” Franklin Roosevelt being Jewish, the CIA killing JFK and the 1969 moon landing being faked remain with us.
We find ourselves enmeshed in George Orwell’s novel 1984. Tens of millions of Americans believe the equivalents to Big Brother’s astonishing falsehoods: Black is white, war is peace.
Perhaps the RNC’s resolution will prompt more Americans to view the world we live in through open eyes and inquisitive minds. They might conclude that asserting something to be true—or false—doesn’t necessarily make it so.
Unfortunately, mind-bending claims likely will continue to assault our democracy. Still, I hope that truth wins out. We all have our fantasies.
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