Fascism is on the rise in America, and Republicans in the Senate will either take a big step to stop it, or become complicit in its continued rise.
Alarmingly, several Republican senators, all with presidential ambitions, are signaling with their behavior that fascism and overthrowing the United States government is really just fine with them. They may even consider it part of their own future career path.
Senator Josh Hawley leans back with his feet up on the chair in front of him ignoring the impeachment proceedings, joined by Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, Rick Scott, and Marco Rubio, all behaving like clueless high school jocks in algebra class, the tough guys, the big men, the proud-of-how-stupid-but-tough-I-am asses we all remember from our teenage years.
Twenty two years ago this winter Bill Clinton was hauled up before the Senate to be tried and removed from the White House, with a lifetime ban on serving in future political office, because he lied about getting a BJ from a consenting adult without the knowledge of his wife.
Trying to hide an extramarital affair was such a severe crime that it warranted conviction and a permanent banishment from politics, according to the 1998 "Guilty" votes of Mitch McConnell, Mike Crapo, Lindsey Graham, Roy Blunt, Richard Burr, Chuck Grassley, Mike Enzi, James Inhofe, Rob Portman, Jerry Moran, Richard Shelby, Pat Roberts, John Thune, and Roger Wicker, all currently sitting in the Senate.
So we know they all think lying about a BJ is impeachable. Definitely a High Crime. The Founders wouldn't have tolerated it, and it's a severe danger to our republic.
These senators all did their best to convict Clinton for his "outrageous" and "indefensible" breach of presidential behavior, and many, like Mitch McConnell, gave eloquent speeches about what a severe threat it is to our republic when a president lies to hide his extramarital sex life from his wife.
But how do they feel about treason?
Inciting a mob to kill five people and trying to bring down the government of the United States?
Lying for months about the integrity of America's elections, echoing talking points from some of the world's worst dictators that elections are rigged in most democracies?
We'll know in a few days what these Senators and their Republican colleagues think of these crimes, and if they think that inciting sedition and insurrection are breaches of trust and faith to the republic less severe than lying about consensual sex outside of marriage.
The evidence of Donald Trump's incitement to insurrection is irrefutable.
He promulgated the big lie for five years, saying that millions of people vote illegally in the United States every year and therefore American elections can't be trusted.
Trump claimed in 2016 that the only reason Hillary Clinton got 3 million more votes than him was because of "illegal voters," mostly in California. He repeated that lie hundreds of times and continues to hold to it to this day.
He compounded that monstrous lie, saying that he won the election of 2020 when in fact Joe Biden got 7 million more votes than he did and easily won the Electoral College.
He spent months priming his crowd with his big lie, call them together into Washington DC on January 6, and then aimed them at Mike Pence, Nancy Pelosi and the Capitol building.
Donald Trump is clearly guilty of inciting insurrection, a charge right on the edge of outright treason. The most severe danger to America, if Trump gets away with it, is the normalization of candidates promoting insurrection to overturn an election they lost.
One wonders if the senators who are doodling, yawning, and diverting their eyes are thinking that four years from now they may have to overthrow an election they lost, too? Is he their mentor, their role model?
We'll find out when they vote.
Will these Republican senators, many who were so horrified by Bill Clinton getting a BJ under the desk, decide that using a mob to kill five people and overthrow an election is actually a much lesser crime than insurrection?
If they do, they will be guilty of treason, too. And the concept of democracy in our constitutional republic will be shaken to its core.
Originally posted on thomhartmann.medium.com.