National Commentary

Heroic Guardians Testify on Jan. 6

The Washington, D.C., major league baseball team should now trade for the Cleveland baseball team’s choice just last week of “Guardians” to replace the racist name it went by for the last century.

Nothing better describes the four D.C. and Capitol Police heroes who appeared in full uniform and in side-by-side formation before the U.S. House select committee in its opening session Tuesday, telling their painfully personal accounts of how they engaged in pitched battles with an overwhelming force of Trump insurrectionists bent on day-long violence and murder to cancel the confirmation of the November presidential vote last January 6.

The names of those officers, Aquilino Gonell, Michael Fanone, Daniel Hodges and Harry Dunn, will henceforth be emblazoned in the permanent record of America’s battles to sustain her democracy, along with a couple hundred of their colleagues who staved off with incredible courage and physical resilience an armed, weapon-wielding reactionary mass mob at least 100 times larger than their ranks.

A compilation of video recordings from the insurrection, many taken from the body cameras of the officers and never before shown, opened the hearing, and set the tone for the day. It revealed the degree of force, violence and criminal intent behind the unrelenting surge of the terrorists, as they were correctly identified, acting at the direction of President Trump and aimed at shutting down the certification of the election due to occur that day.

There were audible calls for the execution of elected political leaders, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence, and the murder of the wholly outnumbered officers who were standing up to their push into the Capitol building.

It was like a scene from a Breughel or Bosch painting of the horrors of a wholesale slaughter of innocents in the 17th century, with the murderous forces taking on the appearance of ugly, distorted creatures from the pit of hell.

“Hell,” in fact, was how one of the officers Tuesday described the ordeal they faced Jan. 6. There is no way any honest person watching that opening video or listening to the accounts of the four officers, could deny, as so many GOP leaders have done, the vile, insurrectionist evil driving that day’s enemies of democracy and the rule of law.

Truly pathetic GOP leaders have attempted to downplay the whole thing, saying it was a picnic, not a terrorist assault on democracy itself, saying they didn’t bother to watch any of the hearing and blaming any problems from that day on Pelosi. One can only hope that the special GOP primary election results in Texas that day, where Jake Elizey defeated the Trump-endorsed candidate, is a harbinger of how the U.S. electorate will increasingly react to the treasonous, sniveling behavior of the GOP national leadership.

These are the same Republicans and their allies in the media, including Fox News, who have been spreading deadly misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic, condemning their own supporters to horrible illness and death from the pandemic’s now-raging Delta variant. In fact, they are legally liable for encouraging behavior which is both deadly and avoidable, and as such many should be found as legally accountable from a swarm of class action lawsuits.

The current Justice Department is now clearly signaling it is not in the mood to defend anyone in the government, current or immediately past, who may be subject to such a legal tidal wave.

If there is one loud drum beat coming out of Tuesday’s historic hearing, it is that everyone, including the two prominent Republicans on the committee, U.S. Reps. Lyn Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, want to leave no stone unturned, no text message, email or phone call unexamined, including all those going and coming from the Trump White House, to get at whomever was behind, ordering or aiding and abetting the January 6 terrorist insurrection.

Unquestionably, this will lead directly to Trump, whose lifetime of criminal behavior is exceeded by this treachery and treason. He will not escape the full force of the law in this case that goes far beyond the many criminal activities that defined his business and personal relations going into the White House.

Nicholas Benton may be emailed at [email protected]