Concerning the Congressional hearing, I think its heart is in the right place. I never fail to point out that the Election of 1800 (incumbent Adams lost to rival Jefferson) is the most underrated moment in American history because it normalized peaceful transition of power between factions. That's just as important now as it was then and I particularly admired Mississippi's own (Rep) Bennie Thompson pointing out that, even in the throes of the Civil War in 1864, Lincoln ignored calls to table it and insisted on a presidential election, promising to adhere to its outcome (which was far from written in stone).
That's all well and good and I share this same spirit of reverence for the critical national qualities we should strive to preserve.
That said, I fear this dog-and-pony show will do less to preserve our traditions and do more to spread right-wing radicalism.
Because, at heart, though insane, the January 6 rioters also believe in the sanctity of our elections. They believe the election was stolen because they live in loony echo chambers. They weren't trying to overthrow the country or prop up a Trump dictatorship. They thought he won and they're better understood as patriotic lunatics than treacherous revolutionaries.
Trump is also ridden with so much Dunning-Kruger effect that he could never, ever cognizantly conceptualize his loss in terms of fairness. He probably also genuinely believes the election was stolen because his brain literally cannot conceptualize loss in any other way.
He's better understood as a clinical narcissist than a rational insurrectionist.
And that's exactly the problem. The hearing is approaching all this like it's dealing with criminal intent rather than complete insanity.
If I believed Donald Trump was a deliberate crook or the rioters were authentic evildoers operating with self-awareness, I'd be all for a hearing and all for making an example out of everyone involved.
As it is, I have yet to see anything to make me believe that anyone involved had the presence of mind to act with any hint of logical rationality.
Therefore, the Hearing serves less to protect the sanctity of peaceful power transitions and more to give right-wing conspirators a greater platform to bolster the ever-growing population of conspiratorial nuts. It also serves to keep Donald Trump centered in the limelight and gives him the same free publicity that got him elected in 2016.
Madmen are best ignored. The best way we could have handled January 6 would have been to quietly prosecute folks for trespassing, let the nation kick back and laugh at how stupid they looked, and mock Trump for ever hinting at solidarity with them. Instead, bringing the hammer down is irresponsible and risks making martyrs out of folks who should have only ever been subjects of ridicule. It's also counterintuitive for Democrats and promises to pay Trump a hefty wealth of the media currency he lives on.
Because (and anyone who still doubts this fact REALLY hasn't been paying attention the last seven years) there is no such thing as bad publicity.