Three days from now, on Wednesday, January 6, the United States Congress will meet to certify the winner of the 2020 presidential race. President-elect Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in November by over 7 million votes in the popular election and by 74 votes in the Electoral College. The Trump campaign’s efforts to sue several states for voter fraud have failed in over 40 cases. District Court Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan of Pennsylvania said, in dismissing one of the cases, that “this claim, like Frankenstein’s monster, has been haphazardly stitched together . . . This court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations . . . unsupported by evidence.”
Frankenstein’s monster indeed.
It’s what the Republican Party has created repeatedly in its subservience to Donald Trump, and it’s what brings us now to the latest outrage: the group of 12 Republican senators and over 100 representatives who plan to oppose the count of votes on January 6. What an interesting coincidence that this disgraceful devilry will occur on Epiphany, the Christian celebration of the Magi’s visit. Epiphany has also come to mean “a moment of sudden revelation or insight.”
Can we count on any of these spineless senators and representatives to experience epiphany, to see the danger of their actions? Not likely, when their circular logic spins on its own deceit. Senator Ted Cruz, leader of the twelve senators, said today, “We’ve seen in the last two months unprecedented allegations of voter fraud . . . We have an obligation to protect the integrity of the democratic system.” Allegations, yes. Proof, no. The courts have ruled; the democratic system was upheld. That the likes of Cruz and his comrades continue to hoodwink Trump supporters doesn’t validate the false narrative.
Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night, also a reference to Epiphany, offers us two quotes as we contemplate these Republicans’ actions. In Act 2, Scene ii, Viola says,
“O time, thou must untangle this, not I.
It is too hard a knot for me t’untie.”
Who will untie this knot that Republicans have created? Certainly not Mitch McConnell, who enabled his corrupt president from the start. Certainly not the so-called moderate Republicans — Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, or Ben Sasse — whose actions rarely support their words of protest. Certainly not the the right-wing media that continues to promote lies and foment discord. New leadership under Joe Biden will make a difference, of course, as he will begin to restore integrity and respect. But William Shakespeare may have it right in the end: time may be our only salvation.
Finally, again from Viola, Act 2, Scene i, a lament for all of us:
“What country, friends, is this?”