Tag Archives: 2000 presidential election

Hypocrisy in Action

I’ve often noted that conservatives can be incredible hypocrites.  For years they said no divorcee would be elected to the presidency.  Then they got Ronald Reagan, the nation’s first divorced Chief Executive, whose wife was the nation’s first divorced First Lady.  They dubbed Bill Clinton a draft dodger and condemned him for protesting against the Vietnam War while he was in college.  Then they elected George W. Bush who earned a comfortable spot in the Texas National Guard in 1968 and failed to complete his tenure.  They also elected Dick Cheney who claimed he had “other priorities” during the 1960s.

Conservative hypocrisy has reared its bigoted head once again – this time in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.  Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, Rick Scott and Tommy Tuberville submitted the correspondence to Garland complaining about what they perceive to be a double standard in punishment by the U.S. Department of Justice against the January 6 Capitol Hill rioters.  In contrast, they declare, many of the various protestors to the George Floyd killing who became violent haven’t met the same degree of discipline.

In part, the letter states:

“DOJ’s (U.S. Department of Justice) apparent unwillingness to punish these individuals who allegedly committed crimes during the spring and summer 2020 protests stands in stark contrast to the harsher treatment of the individuals charged in connection with the January 6, 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. To date, DOJ has charged 510 individuals stemming from Capitol breach.  DOJ maintains and updates a webpage that lists the defendants charged with crimes committed at the Capitol. This database includes information such as the defendant’s name, charge(s), case number, case documents, location of arrest, case status, and informs readers when the entry was last updated.  No such database exists for alleged perpetrators of crimes associated with the spring and summer 2020 protests.  It is unclear whether any defendants charged with crimes in connection with the Capitol breach have received deferred resolution agreements.”

Please.  Spare me the anxiety.

The five angry White male senators don’t seem to understand the difference in the two events.  While some of the Floyd protestors devolved into rioting and vandalism, the original intent was to demonstrate against police violence; a recurring dilemma in the U.S.  The intent of the Capitol Hill rioters, however, was to disrupt congressional business and kill someone – most notably Vice-President Mike Pence.

Conservatives have warned about threats to national security posed by Islamic vigilantes and illegal immigrants for as long as I can remember.  But, these weren’t the people who stormed Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021, as Pence oversaw certification of the 2020 presidential election.  The rioters were mostly White people – many of them former military and/or law enforcement – from across the country who felt their dear leader, Donald Trump, had been cheated out of a second term by a corrupt electoral system.  I can almost hear Al Gore and Hillary Clinton laughing.

But I don’t recall bands of angry liberals storming Capitol Hill in January 2001, demanding Al Gore be lynched.  I also don’t remember seeing similar renegades bursting into Capitol Hill in January 2017, calling for Joe Biden’s head.  And it’s obvious to most of us with more than half a brain that the 2000 and 2016 presidential elections were fraudulent.  Yet conservatives denounced anyone voicing their disdain to those two events as whiners and sore losers.  We were justified, though, in protesting.  But we never got violent.  No one smashed windows, kicked in doors and hollered for blood to be spilled.  Neither Al Gore nor Hillary Clinton stood before angry supporters, urging for violent retribution against Congress.

It’s ironic, however, that Merrick Garland is in a leadership position.  Five years ago President Obama nominated him to replace Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Republicans – who held a majority in the Senate – refused to grant Garland the decency of a fair hearing.  Yet, they rushed through the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett last year, following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Again – hypocrisy in action.

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Blood Sporting

Tom Freeman’s painting of the August 24, 1814 burning of the White House by British troops during the War of 1812. (White House Historical Association)

In the fall of 1989, the world watched the Soviet Union begin to crumble, as its various satellites in Eastern Europe started breaking free from the decades-long grip of the terrorist state.  The seminal moment came in November when the Berlin Wall was torn down, and the democratic west joined with the communist east to form the New Germany.  That edifice had been both literal and ideological; a true line between freedom and tyranny.

A month later came another equally stunning and even more sanguineous event; one that gained plenty of international attention, but seems to have faded into history.  Shortly before Christmas gangs of angry Romanians stormed the central palace and captured President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena.  The duo was subjected to a trial and sentenced to death; afterwards they were garroted.  Their demise was similar to that of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and his mistress, as World War II came to an end.  Bands of anti-fascist citizens captured them after ambushing their convoy and rushed them through a trial, before stringing them up like wild animals.

I imagine the mobs who invaded the U.S. Capitol building this past Wednesday felt equally aggrieved and outraged by what they perceived to be an unfair presidential election.  Spurred on by the vitriolic rhetoric of their dear leader, Donald Trump, they amassed in Washington from all over the country and launched their angry assault.  In behavior similar to that of developing countries, these renegades overwhelmed Capitol Hill police and managed to enter the arena where lawmakers had convened just moments earlier.

That January 6 was a critical day.  That’s when elected officials gathered to certify that Joe Biden had won the U.S. presidency two months ago and would be sworn into office as the nation’s 46th president on January 20.  The gangs of right-wing ideologues who disrupted that stately process demanded otherwise.

This is the first time since 1814 that the U.S. Capitol had been invaded.  And that was in the midst of the War of 1812; during the early days of the American republic.  Great Britain was still trying to regain control of its former colony and succeeded in burning down the capitol.  That was over 200 years ago.  Last Wednesday came during a war of ideology and political differences.

I have never seen anything like it in my life.  Indeed, it is something more emblematic of nations around the world struggling through the growing pains of a new democracy or any new regime change.  It’s similar to what happened in Cuba on New Year’s Day 1959, when Fidel Castro led a ragtag band of rebels into the presidential palace in Havana to overthrow the brutal dictator Fulgencio Batista.  Like Ceausescu and Mussolini, Batista had held onto power for many years through bloodshed and terrorism.  He suppressed free speech and sought to annihilate anyone who dared to disagree with him.  Unlike Ceausescu and Mussolini, however, Batista was able to leave Cuba and live out his life in peaceful exile – and wealth – in Spain.

The people who stormed into the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday aren’t freedom-loving patriots.  They’re domestic terrorists; redneck hooligans supported and agitated by a psychopathic narcissist who didn’t fairly win the U.S. presidency in 2016.  They weren’t the least bit upset over the blatantly fraudulent elections of that year and 2000.

For decades conservatives have lobbed conspiracy theories about mobs of left-wing anarchists swarming into American homes to seize firearms and bibles and force everyone to love Muslims and queer people.  That has never happened.  It didn’t happen after the raucous turmoil of the 2000 presidential elections and it didn’t happen four years ago.  As upset as liberals were then, groups of enraged tree-loving abortionists and pot-smokers didn’t invade Washington and trash lawmakers’ offices.  The biggest threat came from within the bastions of conservatism.

I hope devout Trumpists are happy with themselves.

One Capitol Hill police officer, Brian D. Sicknick, has now succumbed to his injuries.  Four protesters also died; one of them shot to death.  I’m saddened by Sicknick’s death, but I don’t give a damn about the others.  Like people who drink alcohol heavily their entire lives and develop cirrhosis, they brought this upon themselves.  The Capitol Hill police chief has resigned, and – as of this writing – nearly 20 people have been arrested in connection with Wednesday’s mayhem.  Insurrection is a federal offense, and treason is technically punishable by death.  The legal machinations over this debacle will play out for years.

And Donald Trump will go down in history as a president who fomented a riot and placated the rioters.

The nation will move forward, as time does – whether anyone on the far left or far right like it or not.  The spirit of a truly democratic society can’t be quashed.  It never has and it never will.

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Filed under Essays

Strangest Quote of the Week

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“Maybe the court should have said, ‘We’re not going to take it, goodbye.’”

– Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune about Bush v. Gore and the 2000 presidential election.

In case you’ve been in a coma since 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court took up the case of Bush v. Gore because the state of Florida couldn’t decide what the hell they were doing with its own damn election system.  The Court ordered Florida to stop recounting ballots and essentially handed then-Governor George W. Bush the U.S. presidency.  It’s strangely coincidental that Bush’s younger brother, Jeb, was governor of Florida at the time.  Now, look at the mess they created!  Hindsight is always 20/20.

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