We need little reminder that the voting season is, in effect, the silly season. That is, the public will be treated to all kinds of real world situations that mimic movie blockbusters and popular novels. In other words, there will be more fiction than fact, and more Bugs Bunny than John Henry.
For example, such is the silliness of some members of the Republican majority House of Representatives, in their unique participation in this Silly Season, that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) have just introduced a resolution (Feb. 6th and not yet put on the floor for a vote) advocating that the House of Representatives formally votes to say that Donald Trump “did not engage in insurrection or rebellion against the United States” while he was POTUS on Jan. 6, 2121. The letter says further, “The sense of the House of Representatives” is that Mr. Trump “did not engage in insurrection or rebellion against the United States or give aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
Early on, this attempt has attracted at least 60 other Republicans signed on as co-sponsors. It is a silly response to the growing spate of states which are either removing Mr. Trump’s name from the ballot like Maine and Colorado), or simply not putting his name on state ballots in the first place. This covers both the primaries and the November general election.
The Gaetz-Stefanik letter offers no proof of their joint conclusion–just their emotional viewpoints. In logic, we call this a non sequitur—it does not follow. It is safe to say that the Gaetz-Stefanik effort will not carry the day, and in spite of the Republican majority in the House, it is extremely doubtful that the resolution will be passed in Congress. Even though there are House members, and maybe a few Senators, who agree with the Gaetz-Stefanik letter, most will not want to have their names counted in support of such a document publicly, in spite of the MAGA movement. It’s just too silly.
And speaking of silliness, the 3rd District Court of Appeals just ended another flank in this broad effort to redefine Mr. Trump before our very eyes. On February 6th, a unanimous three-judge panel of the court said that Trump—as a former president-- is not immune to prosecution for acts committed both while he was POTUS and afterwards. Even though that ruling will probably be appealed, there is little likelihood that the appeal will be successful. Remember, “the king is not the law; the law is king!”
This means that Mr. Trump’s trial for fomenting an insurrection—brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith in the federal court headed by Judge Tanya Chutkan, will be continued very shortly. It is expected that the other pending cases will also go forward.
And though it is not silly at all, the case that is expected to begin to break the fever dream which infects millions of Americans concerning Mr. Trump, is anticipated to have a ruling any day now. That is the civil trial the state of New York has filed against Mr. Trump and his family for real estate fraud. If, as expected, Judge Arthur Engoron, the presiding jurist, maintains his initial ruling that Mr. Trump is a serial fraudster, and adds that Trump and his company owe the city and state of New York multi-millions of dollars (possibly 400 million +), and he must immediately liquidate all of his financial holdings and sell all properties he owns in the city and state of New York, and no longer be allowed to be in business in the city and state of New York, that would be a financial “death sentence” for Mr. Trump. Of course, even though he would quickly ask his supporters to pay for such a judgment rather than paying for it himself (that’s the silliness here), the damage would be done. The cloak of financial invincibility which Mr. Trump regularly promotes will have been pierced, and his followers will get to see a reckoning of sorts not worthy of a real presidential contender.
That result may not equal the appellation of silliness, but it would most certainly make a major dent in the Trump train forward. That would then spark additional, unforeseen, bouts of political silliness, to be sure.
Anticipating this “silly” season, this column strongly recommends that groups of Black citizens in Los Angeles and other places, start meeting and discussing the possibilities and practicalities of this 2024 election season. We need to be clear on what is happening, and what may happen across the board, given the real probability that our lives in the U.S. will be impacted in major ways during the rest of 2024 and beyond.
A mighty whirlwind is coming.
Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.
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