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A Terrible Idea
“A terrible idea.” That’s what former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone called a plan concocted by a group of diehard Big Lie supporters. The plan was presented to then-President Trump during an unscheduled late night meeting in the Oval Office on December 18, 2020.

The diehards were not government employees nor were they present that night in any official capacity. Rudy Giuliani, Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell, and former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne(!) were part of what others have called “Team Crazy,” a group of supporters apparently willing to explore any way — no matter how far-fetched or illegal — of keeping Trump in office.

The 2020 Presidential election was well over at this point, and no one (including them) had any evidence that it had been anything but fair and orderly. Still, they were promoting a plan that would authorize the Department of Defense to seize voting machines in key swing states. Those seizures, it was thought, would lead to a reversal of the election of Joe Biden and the installation of Donald Trump as a second term president.

A military coup, in other words. That was “the terrible idea” Cipollone was talking about. Once he gained admittance to the meeting, he said as much to the assembled Team Crazy. That’s when the yelling and cursing and vile insults began to fly.

Somehow, the screaming and threats of physical violence produced a “decision,” and Trump abandoned the military coup option. There was, after all, an even more terrible idea available that would allow him to cling to power — mob violence against the Congress. So, later that night, the President launched his fateful tweet summoning followers to D.C. on January 6.

And the rest is history. That tweet was simply the most recent in a long history of terrible ideas, going back to the night Donald J. Trump was conceived. The absolute peak came at the moment enough people agreed with the terrible idea that Trump would make a good president, and they made him the most powerful person on earth.

On January 6th, all those terrible ideas came home to roost. People who get all their facts from social media (yet another terrible idea) joined a small but determined group of cruelty addicts and stormed the Capitol. The cruel ones had a to-do list that included hanging the Vice President of the United States.

Whatever your opinion of Mike Pence, that was also a bad idea. Just as terrible, however, is Cipollone’s idea — revealed only yesterday at the hearings — of now giving Mike the Medal of Freedom just because he didn’t commit treason. Such an act would be just another fruit from the poisonous tree of Trump, and we’ve had enough of that. It’s time to cut that tree down, root and branch (or at least try), and salt the earth it sprang from.

And if you think it would be better to just let go of the anger and move on, I suggest you take a look at the Republican Party. They had a similar strategy. Most of them decided to go along with Trump, swallow all the terrible ideas whole, and wait for all the unpleasantness to pass. Those who couldn’t bring themselves to do that simply slunk away quietly. What is left of the party of Lincoln is a malignant growth owing its existence and its identity to the Big Lie.

Simply moving on would essentially enshrine the Trump malignancy as a permanent feature of our entire American democracy…a terrible idea that would breed a continuing harvest of terrible ideas well into our future.

Please Note: Tim Eagan will read your comments but he is currently not publishing them.

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Yes, voting matters. Polls do not.
~ H, Santa Cruz