Opinion: These guys didn’t think we were worth the truth

One can’t be polite about this. Evidence separates fact from BS, truth from the big lie. Evidence is the gold standard of sanity, anchoring knowledge, reason, democracy and the rule of law. Despite the indisputable evidence that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the election on Nov. 3, the president bunkered down in his alternative reality, repeating the big lie of election fraud, that he’d “won in a landslide.” This lie is his persona — a con moored in psychotic derangement. The gullible believed it, the sycophants sang the chorus, and the malevolent seized the moment, their eyes focused on the 2022 and 2024 ballot boxes.

It didn’t matter that the Biden-Harris victory was resoundingly confirmed by repeated recounts, by state election officials from both parties, by the U.S. attorney general, by government agencies, and even by Fox News. Christopher Krebs, director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, debunked the president’s conspiracy hogwash: “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history. There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.” The president fired Krebs, even as the courts, including the Supreme Court, tossed more than 60 cases filed by the president’s shysters because they couldn’t produce a shred of proof of election fraud or rigging. In the law, evidence matters.

Yet the president’s bootlickers — Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, Reps. Mo Brooks, Jim Jordan, Louie Gohmert, and others — continued the big lie. In an act reeking of sedition, they were joined by 123 GOP representatives and 11 GOP senators, including the newly minted Tommy Tuberville of Alabama and Kansas’ own Roger Marshall, all of whom vowed to oppose Congress’ certification of the Biden-Harris electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania on Jan. 6, nullifying the democratic voice of millions of Americans.

Cruz and Hawley know that the president lost the election. They’re just political leeches, slithering over one another toward the 2024 GOP primaries, each on the grift for funds and fealty from the president’s base. Tuberville? He should have stuck to football. He recently re-diagramed the Constitution playbook, assigning the three branches of the U.S. government to the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House. What about the judiciary branch? Kicked into the bleachers. And Marshall? He’s earned an immediate Kansas recall for his parroting of election disinformation, for forgetting so quickly that his oath was to the Constitution, not a deluded president, and for not thinking that a senator’s words and actions can rent asunder the nation’s very democratic fabric.

The words and actions came to an explosive head on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C. Egged on by Cruz, Hawley, Jordan, and Brooks, the president emerged from his bunker unglued from reality, convinced that Congress would engineer his coup of the U.S. government by handing him Biden’s Electoral College votes. The glue had come off four days earlier, when he ordered Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, to “find 11,780 votes” for him to beat Biden. At the Washington Ellipse, the president incited thousands of his rabid followers — among them neo-Nazis, religious extremists, QAnon dupes and Confederate-flag-waving white supremacists — into an insurrection to enthrone a would-be despot. The GOP lackeys in the House, Senate and administration are as guilty as the president. For four years they aided and abetted his subversion of democracy. For four years they appeased his infantile narcissism. And for four years they gave sustenance or silence to his rhetoric of division, hate, racism and violence, to his bilge of 30,000 lies, to his envious coddling of world tyrants and to his demagoguery that the press is “the enemy of the people.” As revealing, is that the mob’s storming of the Capitol taught them nothing. Six hours later, with order restored and Congress in session, eight GOP senators, including Cruz, Hawley and Marshall, and 147 GOP representatives, including Kansas’ Jacob LaTurner, still spewed the big lie and voted against certification of the election results.

To Cruz’s complicity, add cowardice and hypocrisy. At the GOP’s 2016 national convention he refused to endorse Trump, vowing he’d never go back to the president “like a servile puppy dog.” Well, last week he went back to the president like a servile puppy dog, calling on Congress to impanel an electoral commission to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of election returns in the swing states. As Sen. Mitt Romney chastised him on the Senate floor, a commission’s findings won’t change the minds of the mob any more than has the overwhelming evidence of the Biden-Harris win. Instead, Cruz, Hawley and the other GOP invertebrates just need to quit lying, grow a spine and tell the truth.

What should happen now? The president should be quarantined from power until noon Jan. 20. The Senate and House should expel Cruz, Hawley, Jordan, Brooks and their oleaginous cronies for what the Constitution terms “disorderly behavior,” namely, fomenting sedition. Can they repent? Not before owning up to their BS.

— Leonard Krishtalka is director emeritus of the Biodiversity Institute at the University of Kansas and professor emeritus in ecology & evolutionary biology.


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