Killing the January 6 Commission Violates Americans’ Trust

“If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists – to protect them and promote the common welfare – all else is lost.”

– Barack Obama

When the lies and hypocrisy have been exposed repeatedly and the people have been manipulated and conned – when all is said and done – it all comes down to the erosion of trust.

Who can trust a major political party that refuses to level with the people about an attempted overthrow of their government that happened right in front of their eyes on television?

Can elections or members of the same Republican Party be trusted when they twist the meaning of what they are doing to the electoral process by restricting voting for minorities under the guise of ensuring the integrity of balloting when there is no evidence of fraud?

Trust, the glue that binds so things can work. What does it mean when trust evaporates, when the truth no longer matters? If the truth in America no longer matters, does democracy?

Trust is defined as a belief that something or someone is reliable, good, honest, effective. What happens if that’s gone? What fills the vacuum?

Senate Republicans, under the plotting leadership of Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, abrogated the trust of the American people when they voted to block an investigation by a bipartisan, independent 10-member commission to conduct an autopsy of the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol, the worst blow to American democracy led by Americans but for the Civil War and urged on by their president.

“After many of the national tragedies we’ve experienced over the last 50 years, the response was to have a bipartisan investigation that would lay out the facts in a way that would be definitive,” The New York Times quoted former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff under President George W. Bush after 9/11.

“It builds trust. It shows the public at a time of crisis, we can all come together and put the good of the country ahead of partisan interests,” he said.

But no, not the Republicans, who put themselves, not the country, first.

McConnell’s publicly stated rationale for killing the Jan. 6 panel: “I do not believe the additional extraneous commission that Democratic leaders want would uncover crucial new facts or promote healing.”

Extraneous commission? Bull.

The Justice Department is conducting perhaps its most extensive and widespread investigation into the riot and Democratic-led congressional committees plan their own inquiries. But neither of those carry the weight and significance of a commission’s probe similar to ones carried out after President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination and the 9/11 assaults.

The Republicans killed the commission because they don’t want the public to be reminded that their president was impeached by the House for instigating the insurrection by about 800 of his followers while they try to rewrite history by describing the invasion as a tourist jaunt or a riot led by antifa or other leftists.

And a conclusion by a commission that Trump and his Republican followers were encouraging the attack on the Capitol could turn off voters in the 2022 midterm elections.

The upshot: Trump won yet again. His victory undoubtedly will encourage him to keep repeating his Big Lie of having won re-election and that the absentee and mail-in balloting was fraudulent – just the phony argument that has provoked Republican-led states to pass undemocratic laws restricting voting.

“I don’t want to know, but I need to know,” GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said of the terrorist riot. “To be making a decision [to defeat the commission] for short-term political gain, at the expense of understanding and acknowledging what was in front of us Jan. 6 – I think we need to look at that critically.”

Speaking of trust and truth, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, one of the more incendiary Republicans, told a crowd in Dalton, Ga., May 27 that the Second Amendment is designed to be used in an “armed rebellion” against the country.

“The Second Amendment is not about . . . hunting, it’s not about recreation, it’s not about sports,” he said. “The Second Amendment is about maintaining within the citizenry the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against the government if that becomes necessary.

“I hope it never does, but it sure is important to recognize the founding principles of this nation and make sure that they are fully understood.”

He’s wrong and it’s obvious he doesn’t “fully” understand the Second Amendment.

`The Founding Fathers drew up the Second Amendment for a “well-regulated militia” so citizens could defend themselves and their freedom and prevent the need to create a standing army, Noah Shusterman wrote in The Washington Post Feb. 22, 2018 – not to use their guns to rebel against their government. He wrote it when he was an assistant history professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

And so much for trust in Gaetz.

Richard C. Gross, a correspondent, bureau chief and foreign editor of United Press International at home and abroad, retired as the opinion page editor of The Baltimore Sun.