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Point of View: ‘Fool Me Once . . .’

Wed, 06/29/2022 - 11:53

Close to the day in which we are to celebrate, with pomp, parades, and illuminations, the document that almost 250 years ago asserted our unity in opposition to tyranny, we find ourselves confronting its emergence again two-and-a-half years hence.

The Jan. 6 hearings have shown clearly that the former president engaged in a concerted effort, in the teeth of his advisers’ counsel, that, had it been acted upon, would have subverted the representative democracy — or democratic republic — that we have long hailed as being exceptional in this world, though the cognoscenti say it’s doubtful that criminal intent on his part can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. And, besides, they say, putting a president in the dock would perhaps irreparably divide a country that is already greatly riven.

Can we agree, though, that inciting certain of his supporters to riot, leaving his vice president and fellow congressional legislators to the mercy of a mob, and bullying state election officials who, in standing up to him, refused to decertify certified election returns, was, at the least, dishonorable, unworthy of the ideals professed by this country’s founders?

Yes, a Department of Justice indictment, while wholly merited, might be too much for this fragile country to take, though it can be argued that absent a trial of the facts — which have been neatly laid out by the Jan. 6 committee — a future president may think he or she can behave in the tyrannical ways that Donald Trump has without fear of prosecution. It’s a conundrum.

Apparently the televised hearings’ audiences have been good, which leads me to hope that if people are paying attention he will be convicted in the court of public opinion. It would be nice if somehow he could simply be barred from ever running for office again, but that’s probably too much to wish for.

If we acquiesce to a tyrant again, we will get what we deserve: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”


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