Five years ago, a man who faced no consequences while being reared, faced no consequences for business failures, his domestic failures, his admitted sexual misbehavior, and, especially, his many malicious public lies…. this man decided to run for the highest office in our nation. He won, despite his well-known flaws, failures, and dishonesty.
He won, it seems to me, because in our nation’s public discourse, we have not learned how to discern between objective journalism and politically sponsored propaganda. This storm of propaganda is paid for by both domestic conservatives with economic and societal policy interests, alongside foreign nations who have geopolitical aims. The former style themselves as patriots, the latter deny their actions. Either way, the information they inject into the flow around us is not objective. It is purpose designed to achieve goals apart from the nation’s best interests.
That we have permitted this to be without fact-checking in real time has warped our lives, and our nation. It’s led to the election of the worst president this nation has seen, and a flagrant attempt to destroy the democracy introduced to the world almost 250 years ago. There’s a direct line between this president, the Republican congressmen, their spokesmen, lawyers, and press secretaries lying to the masses about the outcome of the election, and the death and destruction in Washington last week.
What should be the consequences of those lies? For this monstrous failed president? For the house and senate members and paid pols echoing the falsehood that the election was somehow rigged? What should be done about the “talking heads” who now propound new lies about the assault on Congress, falsely reporting mysterious “others” were the “real” culprits; plainly propaganda. How do we permit this?
Free speech, the old saying goes, does not permit capriciously shouting “FIRE!” in a crowded theater. There are stiff penalties for that wrong-doing.
This failed president must face impeachment, even if conviction occurs after he’s evicted from office. His attempt to undo a national election absolutely requires it. He deserves no pension, no travel allowance, no Secret Service detail as a past president. He must be barred from holding any future office.
Senators Hawley and Cruz should face removal from office, or censure at the least.
Rudy Giuliani and other lawyers in service of the disinformation campaign should be disbarred.
And we clearly need legislative checks on propaganda presented as news. Perhaps a separation of objective reporting outlets from opinion outlets, so that outrageous opinions won’t fly under the cover of a “news banner”.
Mom and Dad never used the word ‘consequences’ while raising my sibs and me, but it made no difference. My upbringing had consequences aplenty to steer my course to adulthood. When it became the fashionable parenting buzz-word at the turn of this century, we were teaching consequences to our daughters daily. They turned out just fine.
Now it is our nation that needs to be the tough parent, to mete out consequences for the lies that wrought last week’s havoc.