January 6, Angela Rigas, and the way forward

Yale historian Timothy Snyder has posted a 15-fact summary of the January 6 committee’s report. You should stop now and read it if you have not already.

I said yesterday (in a FaceBook post) that no one can be surprised by continuing revelations of Trump’s misdeeds. Anyone with clear moral vision knew what Trump was, and what he was likely to do in the presidency, from the moment he said he would run.

For people like me, it was just unsophisticated intuition. But Timothy Snyder, having studied the demise of democracy and the rise of authoritarianism in several 20th-century European theaters, warned us by pointing out specific historical precedents in Europe and specific warning signs in Trump’s Washington DC.

Now he has given us the plainest, most concise summary I have yet seen of what the report of the January 6 committee tells us.

And please remember, now and in 2024, that the Republican Party as a whole fell into line behind Trump and for the most part is mostly still loyal to him.

And of course many are trying to pretend that the January 6 report is insignificant, or that it signifies something other than what Snyder says in this simple, clear summary.

Some of the Republicans who have backed Trump, either actively or passively, are now trying to pretend otherwise. Which is just a new phase of the massive dishonesty (or, if you prefer to try to mitigate the culpability of the masses, deception-delusion racket; but I believe many of the deluded were willing, willful, and knowing parties to the lies).

The problem is not only national. It affects our state governments and our local institutions. For example, the large Republican majority in the part of Kent County MI where I live just elected Angela Rigas as our state rep—a full-out Trumpist who was in Washington DC on January 6 with her Michigan-illegal collapsible baton on her person, in case, as she bragged in the car on the way to DC, she had to kick some ass while there. She is proud to have been a participant in the storming of the Capitol on January 6. This is all documented by Rigas herself. If you’re not familiar, here’s a bit of the documentation.

(Jon Rocha, mentioned here as a candidate for Congress, was disqualified before the primary,)
Angela Rigas, en route to DC for the January 6 insurrection, shows off her collapsible baton. (Source: https://twitter.com/MichiganTea/status/1397576511809597444?s=20&t=dCCiwUw3E20gHrLE5YnwYg)
Angela Rigas confesses on Twitter, during the insurrection, that she is participating in it. (Source: https://twitter.com/MichiganTea/status/1397760217295822849?s=20&t=dCCiwUw3E20gHrLE5YnwYg)

Angela Rigas tweets her participant-observer of the Trumpist attack on the U.S. Congress. “There were no problems. The police refused us into the Capitol. It’s our house.”

Fortunately, the Michigan electorate as a whole rejected the Trumpist resurgence, so Angela Rigas will be in a Republican minority in the Michigan House. Her ability to cause damage is limited. And in two years, we will have another opportunity to decide whether she has the intelligence and the character that we want in our state representative. My own belief is that she ought to be disqualified, on the basis of section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.

I guess the technicality on which she might evade this consequence lies in the word “previously.” As far as I know, her previous employment (as a hair stylist) did not require an oath to support the Constitution. But she did engage in insurrection against the United States Constitution and give aid and comfort to its enemies.

When Angela Rigas steps up to be sworn in as representative for our district in the Michigan House, she should be asked the same questions a prosecutor asked Graydon Young, and if her answers are not at least as good as Young’s, she should be rejected and sent home. (For the questions and answers, see the highlighted text in the screenshot from the recently released report of the January 6 committee.)

Our local population also elected three Rigas acolytes (Tim Morris, John Brandow, Jennifer Nichols) to our school board. Which is worth pointing out, because Rigas is openly at war against public education and these three school board members were elected with the help of a Betsy DeVos PAC. For more on all this, do keyword searches for “Caledonia Community Schools” and “Angela Rigas” at my blog site, verbasparsa.org; or view my whole campaign-blog archive. I have already indicated elsewhere what I think we must do about this, and I stand by what I said there. As far as I know, our three new school board members, unlike their sponsor, Angela Rigas, did not travel to Washington to participate in the January 6 insurrection. My hope is that they will leave Angela Rigas and her Trumpist mindset behind, focus on their responsibilities as school board trustees, and carry them out faithfully. But I intend to be paying close attention.

My larger point here is this: as the facts regarding the January 6 insurrection in particular and the whole Trump story in general become more clear (and as Snyder’s post indicates, they are now sufficiently clear!), we are left with a lot of clean-up work. The Republican Party will have to find a way of regaining credibility. If and when it does, the Democratic Party, with its unmanageable diversity, will have to find a new unifying theme once it is no longer primarily The Resistance to the Trumpist movement. Voters will have to dump unworthy officeholders who were elected only because of the power of the Trump delusion. Localities, churches, families, and friendship networks that were split because of the Trump delusion will have to be healed and reunited. My presupposition is that all of the repair and healing will have to be based on truthfulness and forgiveness—not on further deception and delusion, not denial, and also not on unrealistic and uncharitable obsession with punishing all those who were complicit but have realized and acknowledged the truth and reaffirmed their commitment to truth, justice, and core democratic values.

So as 2022 draws to a close, what will we leave behind? And as 2023 begins, what new resolutions will we undertake?

I am pondering these things.

What about you?

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