Last Wednesday, before the seditious Capitol assault had been stoked by Donald Trump, my column read:
“Manipulated by the Sorest Loser in American history, ‘representatives of the people’ are turning the Constitution on its head, denying the verified, certified and submitted votes of swing states, which Trump lost. Never mind these players won in the same election Trump lost; long-debunked claims of Hugo Chavez-led voting machine hacks and shredded ballots and dead folks voting are yet again resurrected themselves in theatrical-act-as-cover for Trump’s ego and for protection from his sore loser wrath and the resulting wrath of his sore loser base.”
Perhaps the most prophetic words in The Signal in years; still, I vastly underestimated the evil behind what would transpire last Wednesday and the scope of all those collectively enabling and responsible for the debacle. To a crowd gathered at his bequest, expressly instructed to “show strength” – Donald Trump sent thousands of stupefied personality-cult worshipers marching to the Capitol to show their power and retake the election. The sad result: The Capitol was overrun, our senators and congressional representatives taking cover under desks and tables, ushered into safe rooms. Our sacred seat of democracy was trashed, defiled, internationally disgraced; five people were killed, including two police officers, and dozens seriously injured.
This sickness goes back to the Big Lie, which Trump plied from day one of his first candidacy. “I can’t lose unless its rigged,” combined with, “The press is the enemy of the people selling fake news,” creates the Big Lie.
The motors powering the Big Lie are the now-infamously named, “alternative facts.”
Alternative facts (known by honest thinkers as misinformation or lies) build the foundation, structure, walls and roof that the presidential election was rigged and that any news outlet saying otherwise is “fake news.” With alternative facts, manipulators create almost any belief – from QAnon to Hugo Chavez controlling voting machines. With alternative facts, an egotistical political cult leader created deeply held beliefs that six swing states somehow were in cahoots, stealing the election, giving Joe Biden the win by as tight a margin as Trump himself won before. With alternative facts, losing is winning and winning is losing and anything you say or want to believe counts for truth.
The culmination of the Big Lie says the 2020 election was a massive conspiracy by a sleepy old loser pol, magically and mysteriously stealing a landslide election from Donald Trump. Trump’s Fox-force-fed, conditioned-for-years, alternate-fact followers bought the Big Lie to the point of marching down Pennsylvania Avenue, sacking the Capitol, delusionally attempting to overturn a fair election that they happened to simply lose.
In the debacle’s aftermath, 139 congressmen, eight senators and a very guilty president would now like to see this simply “be let go.” “Reunify the country.” But Trump caused death, damage and division and the most dangerous assault on our democracy in our time. Trump used every tool at his disposal, including the weight of the presidency itself; corrupting people and polls and processes – doing anything, to fake a win.
But he could not do this alone. A coup requires collaborators and Trump had them. Sen. Josh Hawley fist-saluted the mob as he entered the Capitol, Hawley leading the revolt to reject certified results from swing states Trump lost. Second seditious in command, the ever-spineless Ted Cruz, read the way the wind blows wrong again this time. Together with six collaborating senators, these democracy defamers attempted disenfranchisement of entire states (other than their own), throwing the election outcome into perpetual dispute.
The Republican House was more nefarious. There, a full 147 coward representatives, fearing Trump-led primary challenges, bowed to Trump tyranny as they also attempted theft of votes from millions of citizens, clouding Biden’s win. They took a fall and became traitors for the ages, rather than earn Trump’s retaliation. In this sick loyalty contest between the U.S. Constitution and Trump, these traitors chose Trump.
Irony is often lost on the guilty and it is with our own Mike Garcia. He held his position little more than two months when he assessed he had standing to strip entire states of their votes. Winning his own most recent election by a whopping 333 votes, almost entirely consisting of (supposedly questionable) mail-in ballots, Garcia chose the low road. No one heard Garcia calling for an audit of his 333-vote 25th District election. Of course not. Integrity isn’t part of the Big Lie. Garcia instead folded as one more pawn in Trump’s attempted coup.
The Big Lie of Hugo Chavez-led voting machine hacks and shredded ballots and dead folks voting always was just smokescreen to cover for a Trump power grab on the nation and on his Republican party. Make believe. Stuff of cult handbooks. Trump’s claims were tried in more than 70 courts and shot down every time. Still, these eight senators and Mike Garcia, with his 138 coup-plotting representatives, hide behind the Big Lie as cover to cower to Trump – all this at the expense of America’s democracy and standing in the world.
The Big Lie must die. We must fully expose it and kill it and bury it. The perpetrators and collaborators of the Big Lie and its associated coup on democracy must pay. They must be shunned (as Big Business and Big Tech already have) and shamed and voted from office. Cruz and Hawley should resign. Some should be tried, as their part of the Big Lie crossed into crime. The president himself should be convicted of inciting to riot.
We cannot let this go. Not locally with Garcia, nor nationally with the president and his co-conspirators. This historic seditious affair was a close call that cost us dearly. And it’s not over. The Big Lie will persist, grow and mutate if allowed to live.
We must henceforth believe in facts, learn and know the truth, and follow what’s real. As Mitt Romney said to wild applause, “The best way we can show respect to these voters… is by telling them the TRUTH.”
Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared in The Signal since 2006. The opinions expressed in his column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Signal or its editorial board.