Above: Surrender of Lord Cornwallis by John Trumbull, 1819-1820. Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.
Arizona Daily Star political cartoonist and columnist David Fitzsimmons captures the heartbreak of American patriots today after the betrayal of our country by “Vichy Republicans” in the Senate on Friday. Fitz’s Opinion: When revolutions die and monarchs return where will we stand?
“Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country. Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.” My devoted mom made me type that sentence over and over and over on our typewriter in hopes that I would learn how to type.
Fifty-years later I hunt and peck and the phrase, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country” looms over my heart.
On Friday the Senate at the United States of America abandoned any pretense of truth-seeking, by rejecting eyewitness testimony, by agreeing to cover up the President’s corruption and by granting him immunity from oversight — thus unleashing a gloating tyrant.
Perhaps we deserve our fate. When it comes to civics we have been an inattentive people.
I have stood in somber reflection in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the crypt of General George Washington at Mount Vernon and the grim sarcophagus of Abraham Lincoln at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield. I never thought I’d kneel in sorrow before my mortally wounded republic.
I once held in my hand the contents of Abraham Lincoln‘s pockets the night he was assassinated. I have seen the tattered but enduring star-spangled banner that waved over Fort McHenry, Mark Twain’s writing desk and the very spot where Davy Crockett fell at the Alamo.
I thought I’d seen it all. But it’s nothing compared to what I saw in the poisoned well of the Senate this past week.
I have stood in Independence Hall, in Philly, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and where I was yelled at for trying to touch the Liberty Bell. I saw Appomattox where Lee surrendered to Grant and the union was preserved. I saw Yorktown where the British surrendered to Washington and a nation was born. And on January 31, 2020 I saw the dissolution of our union, and the surrender of our Constitution to by servile forces of a corrupt king.
When I saw our magnificent Constitution enshrined under glass this small town schoolboy thought he’d seen it all. When I stood in the street where JFK perished, the balcony where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. bled to death and in the bedroom where Lincoln died I thought I had seen our nation’s penultimate sites of unthinkable tragedy.
Yesterday the Senate of the United States became such a site.
I have stood at the feet of our patron saint, Lady Liberty. I never thought I’d see her nation reject her poetic ethos.
I stood where Hitler inspired a movement in Munich and in Paris, where triumphant allies marched, a decade later, under the Arc de Triomphe. I never thought I’d see our nation appease a petty tyrant.
I own a chunk of the Berlin Wall. I never thought I’d see a day when a grinning Putin would own a piece of my democracy while one party remained servile.
I thought I’d seen it all. Yet I have never seen anything like what I saw Friday morning when our “Beacon-for-the-World” revolution fell to craven forces electing to return to rule by a monarch accountable only to his own conscience.
Mom was right. Now is the time for all good citizens to come to the aid of their country. To resists and persist, to defend the rule of law. To demand a free and fair election. To rid us of corruption. To expose and reject dark money. To reject foreign interference. And to vigorously counter every disinformation campaign that will flood our nation’s discourse.
Thank you United States Representatives Adam Schiff, Jason Crow, Val Demings, Sylvia Garcia, Hakeem Jeffries and Jerold Nadler for your unwavering devotion to our Constitution. Madison, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams and Washington and all the martyrs of 1776 would be proud of you.
The party that is covering up the president’s thuggish corruption does not resemble the party of my father, of Goldwater, or of Reagan. Loyal to a singular indispensable strong man it resembles no familiar party in recent history. Certainly not the “Law and Order” Party of Richard Nixon.
During the Impeachment Show Trial the airtight conservative bubble was on display for all to see, with “Everyone in the loop”, invulnerable to facts, endlessly spinning falsehoods, wing-nutty conspiracy theories and Russian intel inside the closed eco-system of the right-wing spin machine, utterly oblivious to the will of The People.
Beware. The truth will come out.
As “Never Trumper” Republican strategist Rick Wilson once observed, “Everything Trump touches dies.” This week his accomplices placed his hands on the throat of our 244-year old democratic republic. And in November The People will remember.
And just when I thought I’d seen everything, I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump’s fatal touch included one American political party.
The traitorous “Vichy Republicans” who have betrayed America must be defeated and consigned to the ash heap of history. American democracy and the rule of law must be restored to usher in a renewed and reinvigorated new American Century. The “great American experiment” will not go quietly into that dark night of Trumpism, the new American fascism. American patriots who love their country will resist at every opportunity, and will in the end be victorious.