Many people have been unable to watch or listen to the public hearings this summer on the Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the U.S. Capitol. I know this because some of you are my friends, and actually, I sympathize. If the shoe were on the other foot, I most likely would be sitting in the dark with the radio turned off.

I think for some people there is fear of being dragged into the typical no-win, knock-down, dragged-out battle between irreconcilable arguments that most public hearings have become since the Tea Party took the Republicans by the throat and made mincemeat of conservative thought. For others, the refusal to pay attention to the work of this committee is because it has been labeled “one-sided,” consisting only of Democrats and RINOs, “traitors” to the red party.

I had those same fears when the hearings began and missed the first one for both reasons. But I shook myself, decided to take my citizenship a little more seriously, and gave it a try. Listening to the questions pursued and the testimonies presented has been one of the most rewarding civic experiences of my life. People with character and courage are using the framework established in the Constitution to do everything they can to protect our real freedom. They are making America great again in my eyes.

If these hearings are one-sided in any way, it’s that they’re on the side of truth. They stand against and are working to dissolve the barrage of lies and propaganda that has been pumped out by Donald Trump and friends since the man began running for office in 2016. This barrage became lethal on Jan. 6, 2021, when our still-standing President committed treason against the entire country, refusing to stop the insurrection he’d started for more than 3 hours—187 minutes to be precise, when every minute counted—between leaving the rally at the Ellipse around 1 p.m. and tweeting “Go home, we love you” a little after 4 p.m. 

That was the subject of the most recent hearing broadcast during primetime last Thursday, July 21. If you were to go back and watch, listen to, or read about any of the hearings, just to see what all the fuss is about, that’s the one I’d recommend.

You’ll see who the real heroes were: the secret service agents who would not take the President to the Capitol riots, overriding his orders; the secret service agents at the Capitol guarding our Vice President, the second in command, who thought they were going to die that day yet did everything they could to keep Mike Pence from the crowd that wanted to hang him. You’ll see people who knew in advance that things were going to get ugly and ran to get away. You’ll see people who pleaded with Trump to call in the National Guard waiting in buses on the fringe, but were unable to activate until they had his order. You’ll see our elected representatives continue with the electoral count once the rioters left.

And you’ll see the real Donald Trump: watching the riot on Fox News in the White House’s personal dining room, making calls to Senators to get them to delay the electoral count while they were being tear gassed. You’ll see everyone around him beseeching him to call off the riot without effect, from his staff and cabinet to his daughter Ivanka, Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell, even Sean Hannity. You’ll see him refuse.

This hearing also showed a video of Trump making the video to release the next day, in which he still could not say the election was over or condemn the violence of the rioters, words his speech writers thought the country needed to hear. They were his people, he said, he couldn’t say those things to them. 

For a moment that looked like the tiniest glimmer of integrity to me. Then I realized that they were not just his people. They were his forces, his armed forces, and he was their commander in chief. To say the election was over or that the rioting was wrong would have been a demotion, a relinquishment of his real position as their leader. He wasn’t letting go of that, and still hasn’t.

That’s what those 187 minutes told me.

Trudy Wischemann is a citizen of the United States of America.You can send her your hearing observations c/o P.O. Box 1374, Lindsay CA 93247.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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