America can add Jan. 31, 2020 to the list of the nation’s most appalling blunders.
Defying their sworn duty, overwhelming public opinion and decency, the Republican Party on that day succumbed to fear and corruption in the impeachment case against President Donald Trump.
Friday became historical as the day Senate Republicans refused to seek the truth about just how far the president had gone in blackmailing Ukranian officials, forcing them to undermine Trump’s political opponent.
It adds to the list of other galling American lapses, such as May 18, 1896. That’s the day the Supreme Court ruled on Plessy v. Ferguson, promoting a generations of corrupt racial segregation laws.
The moment Friday when Senate Republicans refused to examine evidence of Trump’s obvious corruption was akin to Feb. 19, 1942, the day FDR signed Executive Order 9066, which led to the repugnant internment of Japanese Americans.
Senate Republicans on Friday offered only sophomoric bilge, manufactured by lawyers for Trump and his supporters, as to why they would not pursue testimony from former NSA Director John Bolton or others. Republicans refused to hear from witnesses who could shed light on the overwhelming evidence of Trump’s dangerous crimes.
Republicans, and the entire nation know full well that a tsunami of truth and facts will eventually wash away Trump’s deceptions and obfuscations. Cowardly members of Trump’s own party, however, prevented those revelations now.
Instead, Jan. 31, 2020 was the day Senate Republicans like Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner shrank in fear and colluded in the scheme to hide Trump’s crimes from the American public.
It was as distressing as Aug. 24, 1954, the day President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law the Communist Control Act of 1954. Of all of America’s dark, regrettable moments, it was the Age of McCarthyism that most closely resembles the malevolent Age of Trump. It’s a period that has now enveloped and doomed current Republicans in much the same way.
Many Americans vividly remember that nearly half of the country then supported the fascist ploys of McCarthyists. Amid fevered faux-patriotism, McCarthyists brought widespread disinformation, hatred, division and anti-intellectualism into the mainstream. The McCarthyists gained huge ground wielding fear and conspiracies. They led a fight against “The Unholy Three” — fluoridated water, polio vaccines and mental health treatment.
America returned to those inexplicable days of darkness Friday when Republican senators cowered from a corrupt and vengeful President Trump. They fear the bully who mercilessly seeks to crush all Republicans who dare to defy him.
Jan. 31, 2020 was the wholesale surrender of the critical American touchstone of checks and balances in government. It was an ironic tragedy for Republicans, who, afraid of losing power, surrendered it in fear without so much of a shout or a whimper.
Having gone this far with Trump, ignoring or even supporting lie after lie, corruption after corruption, scandal after scandal, they are now completely under the president’s sway.
These Republicans must now go even further to keep the rest of America from discovering their past folly and the culmination of it Jan. 31, 2020. As Trump’s guilt and malfeasance becomes increasingly apparent, the need to hide it from the world, to protect their congressional seats, will be increasingly compelling.
The only hope for America is that the move past the era of Trump will be swift. It will come, just like the nation moved past segregation, bigoted internments and the scourge of McCarthyism.
To heal the nation, it will take the will of honest, determined Americans, who understand there is a right and a wrong. The future depends on Americans who believe lying and corruption are wrong. Moving past the Age of Trump depends on Americans who know that Trump’s crimes, lies and corruption is wrong. They know that what Republican senators did on Jan. 31, 2020 was wrong.
The nation can never undo the mistakes it’s inflicted upon itself, including Jan. 31, 2020. We can only work to remove Trump and complicit offenders from power. Only then can the nation begin the arduous process of restoring the Constitution, the Senate and the administration and return to a nation of principal, integrity and democracy.