History, History Column

January 6th – One Year Later…..

Written by ©2021 Sarah Becker

Copyright ©2021 Sarah Becker

January 6th – One Year Later…..

“A nation’s character, like that of an individual, is elusive,” World War II Navy and Marine Medal recipient John F. Kennedy professed in 1946. “It is produced partly by the things we have done and partly by what has been done to us. It is the result of physical factors, intellectual factors, and spiritual factors. It is well for us to consider our American character, for in peace, as in war, we will survive or fail according to the measure.” 

So the 2022 New Year begins.

“Acquiring the qualities of virtue requires consistent effort,” Benjamin Franklin observed. “Pleasure, position, popularity, wealth and appearance are among the whistles in life…for which many people pay too much.” Franklin considered character and integrity to be one.

And so the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th [2021] Attack on the United States Capitol continues.

“Almost all the literature in the first 150 years or so focused on what could be called the Character Ethic…things like integrity, humility, fidelity, temperance, courage, justice, patience, industry, simplicity, modesty, and the Golden Rule,” Stephen Covey author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People wrote.

Matthew 7:9-12, NIV Archaeological Study Bible: “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him? So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

“Shortly after WWI the basic view shifted from the Character Ethic to…the Personality Ethic,” Covey continued. “Success became more a function of personality; of public image, of attitudes and behaviors, skills and techniques, that lubricate the processes of human interaction.”

“Some of this [later] literature…compartmentalized character rather than recognize it as foundational,” Covey concluded.

“The Grand Old Party of Abraham Lincoln, the rail-splitter, has just held its national convention,” Representative John F. Kennedy [D-MA] told the East Boston Knights of Columbus in 1947. “But in this solemn hour I would remind you that it also…has been the Grand Old Party of General Grant [1869-1877] full of graft and insufficiency; the Grand Old Party of Harding [1921 -1923] and the Forty Thieves; of do-nothing Coolidge [1923-1929] and impotent Hoover [1929-1933]…And who was more responsible than anyone else for the huge campaign funds which elected Harding, Coolidge and Hoover? It is the man who maneuvered the nomination of the present Republican candidate [Thomas E. Dewey] for President…old Joe Grundy of Pennsylvania; Old High Tariff Joe, the man who pulled the strings.”

The Gilded Age, a term coined by Mark Twain, refers to the time period dating from the late 1860s to 1900. It was an Age of rapid industrial growth, robber barons, and increasing racial and economic inequality. Joe Grundy [1863-1961], an Andrew Mellon ally, was involved in the textile and banking industries; a conservative Republican appointed to fill a U.S. Senate vacancy in 1929.

“They had old Joe up on the witness stand when the 1929 Depression started,” Kennedy continued. “They asked him how much he had raised from among his friends in the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association for the Coolidge campaign. Why, about $700,000, he said. Then they asked him how much he raised for the Hoover campaign. About the same—$700,000, he figured. Is it any wonder that Old Joe Grundy’s man was named Chairman of the Republican National Committee to run the 1948 [presidential] campaign? ”

The Democratic Party split in 1948. When President Harry S. Truman [D-MO] introduced his civil rights package to Congress on February 2, 1948, then again introduced the package as a Party platform plank, many disgruntled delegates walked away. Conservative Southern Democrats nominated Governor Strom Thurmond [D-SC] “to run on their States’ Rights ticket.” Liberal Democrats, already in the throes of reconstructing the 1911/1924 Progressive Party, picked one-time Vice President Henry Wallace [D-IA] as their Presidential candidate.

Pollsters predicted a landslide win for Truman competitor Thomas E. Dewey. I tell you no lie: Harry Truman won the presidential election in one of the biggest upsets in political history.

Truman’s controversial message: “We know our democracy is not perfect…But if we wish to inspire the peoples of the world whose freedom is in jeopardy…we must correct the remaining imperfections in our practice of democracy. [By] establishing a permanent Commission on Civil Rights, strengthening existing civil rights statutes, providing federal protection against lynching, protecting more adequately the right to vote [and more].”

“Along with Old Joe’s hand-picked candidates, the Grundy Old Party, at its Philadelphia Convention, adopted a platform,” Kennedy clarified. “It contains many nice phrases and pledges of what the Party will do if the legislative and executive branches of government are entrusted to it for the next four years. But most of those phrases and pledges contained in the platform were adopted by the Grundy Old Party four years ago. There is nothing…which can lead any person to believe that those promises will be fulfilled in the future.”

“The Republican Party follows the Hitler line,” Kennedy concluded, “no matter how big the lie, repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as truth,”

“The forces of reaction are at present in control of the Congress,” Kennedy counseled. “They are the same forces dominated…by [those] who for 50 years have sought to enslave American workingmen and women; [who] fought every effort of President Roosevelt and President Truman to protect your rights.”

“Since the permanent formation of our Government under the Constitution, in 1789, most of the periods of crisis in our history have related to our domestic affairs,” President Franklin Roosevelt said in his 1941 Annual Message to Congress. “Only one of these—the four year War Between the States—ever threatened our national unity.”

Conservative Southern Democrats, including Strom Thurmond’s Dixiecrats, remained loyal to the Democratic Party until 1964. Most, including Thurmond, switched to the Republican Party when President Lyndon B. Johnson [D-TX]—one of the South’s own—signed both the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

California’s Ronald Reagan became a Republican in 1962; the ever-changing Donald Trump joined, again joined the Republican Party in 1987, 2009, and 2012. Bottom line: the Radical Republicans, the alleged racial equalizers associated with post-Civil War Reconstruction were feared no more. Reagan’s 1980 pitch to the Christian Right was icing on the cake.

The Radical Republicans Civil Rights Act of 1875 was first introduced in 1870; the same year the Rockefellers incorporated Standard Oil Company of Ohio; Virginia was again admitted to the Union, and AME minister Hiram Rhodes Revels [1827-1901]—a free Negro his entire life—became the first black to serve in the U.S. Senate. Revels, a Mississippi Republican, assumed Jefferson Davis’ seat.

Massachusetts Senator and Radical Republican Charles Sumner celebrated Revels arrival: “All men are created equal, says the great Declaration, and now a great act attests this verity. Today we make the Declaration a reality.”

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, “we [did not] extinguish our resentments [for the sake of] harmony and union.” It is fascinating that the unfinished Civil War memorial, a Peace Monument designed by a Union Admiral and located on the U.S. Capitol grounds is now seen as “an enigmatic emblem” of the insurrectionists’ aftermath. As is the 1861-1865 Confederate flag.

In the aftermath of the January 6th, 2021, Capitol riot “many Republicans agreed on the need for an independent commission to investigate the attack,” The Week wrote on June 11, 2021. “However, a Republican filibuster killed a bill creating such a commission. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s justification was that the proposed commission would be ‘slanted’ against Republicans though it would have featured five Republican and five Democrat appointees.” In fact the ongoing Select Investigating Committee is composed of seven Democrats and two Republicans.

“The real explanation,” as Senator John Cornyn [R-TX] admitted, “was that the GOP doesn’t want to give Democrats ‘a political platform’ from which to make the 2022 midterm elections ‘a referendum on President Trump’ and his Big Lie that the election was stolen.”

Proverbs 24:26, NIV Archaeological Study Bible:  “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.”

“I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain (what I consider the most enviable of all titles) the character of an honest man,” General George Washington wrote Alexander Hamilton in 1788. Perhaps January 6th Select Committee Representatives Liz Cheney [R-WY], Vice Chair, and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), a military veteran himself, have read the General’s letter.

Kinzinger, a Trump critic who voted in favor of impeachment, has decided not to seek reelection.  “You can fight to tell the truth, you can fight against the cancer in the Republican Party: the lies, conspiracy and dishonesty,” Kinzinger said on October 31, 2021. “Still there are about 190 people in the Republican Party that aren’t going to say a word.”

Millions of Americans have been sold a fraud that the [2020] election was stolen,” Cheney said on October 10, 2021. “Republicans have a duty to tell the American people that this is not true. Perpetuating the Big Lie is an attack on the core of our constitutional republic.” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a conservative Republican who supported Trump, tells all in his new book Integrity Counts.

Retiring Representative Anthony Gonzalez [R-OH], another conservative Republican who voted to impeach Donald Trump, describes the attack on the Capitol as “the line that can’t be crossed.” Said Gonzalez: “January 6th was an unconstitutional attempt led by the president of the United States to overturn an American election and reinstall himself in power illegitimately. That’s fallen nation territory. That’s third-world country territory. My family left Cuba to avoid that fate [and] I will never let it happen here.”

Scuttlebutt suggests investigators are now examining whether a group of powerful Trump backers [advocates like political tactician Roger Stone] used a “war room” in Washington’s Willard Intercontinental hotel to incite the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows—held in criminal contempt as of December 15, 2021—has shared more than 9,000 documents with the House Select Committee to Investigate, as well as a bombshell copy of another’s 38-page PowerPoint presentation—Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 Jan. The presentation includes “recommendations for Trump to pursue in order to retain the presidency.”

Donald Trump’s newly formed social media company Trump Media & Technology Group [TMTG] launches this month. “Big Tech platforms demonetize, throttle, and cancel those who stray from the mainstream narrative,” the TMTG website says. The CEO is former Congressman Devin Nunes [R-CA], a prominent member of both the “tax writing” House Ways and Means Committee and House Intelligence Committee.

“Devin understands that we must stop the liberal media and Big Tech from destroying the freedoms that make America great,” Trump said. TMTG’s social platform: TRUTH Social.

In truth Donald Trump’s son, Don Jr. thought the ongoing Capitol riots condemnable. “He’s got to condemn this shit ASAP,” Don Jr. messaged White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on January 6, 2021. “The Capitol Police tweet is not enough.” To date more than 650 U.S. Capitol protesters have been charged with individual crimes. Also D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine has filed suit—against the participating Poor Boys and Oath Keepers “for conspiring to terrorize the District of Columbia.”      

On December 9, 2021, the House of Representatives passed [220-208] the Protecting Our Democracy Act, an Act “To protect our democracy by preventing abuses of presidential power, restoring checks and balances and accountability and transparency in government, and defending elections against foreign interference.” The Senate has yet to vote.

As the House Select Committee to Investigate moves forward “Let us,” Senator John F. Kennedy said in 1958, “seek not the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer…In the words of the poet: ‘Now has come the time for action, Clear away all thought of faction, Out from vacillating shame—Every man no lie contain, Let him answer to his name—Call the roll.’”

Character: a collection of qualities, attributes, and or elements, especially mental and moral that distinguish a person or thing: a moral strength—strength of a type the country sorely needs.

Sarah Becker started writing for The Economist while a graduate student in England. Similar publications followed. She joined the Crier in 1996 while serving on the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association Board. Her interest in antiquities began as a World Bank hire, with Indonesia’s need to generate hard currency. Balinese history, i.e. tourism provided the means. The New York Times describes Becker’s book, Off Your Duffs & Up the Assets, as “a blueprint for thousands of nonprofit managers.” A former museum director, SLAM’s saving grace Sarah received Alexandria’s Salute to Women Award in 2007.  Email abitofhistory53@gmail.com 

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