It’s amazing what happened when NASA pointed its James Webb Space Telescope into a patch of darkness. Suddenly we saw the whole truth—-stars and galaxies we never knew existed.
It was a look back at the speed of light, about 13 billion years.
I wish all of America could see more clearly right here on Earth, just back to Jan. 6. 2020. We could use some truth right now.
The number of Republicans who believe there was an insurrection has actually gone down from 33 percent last year to 13 percent, according to polling.
Another 70 percent of Republicans believe Joe Biden wasn’t legitimately elected. Hence, a bevy of GOP candidates are running in the midterms as election deniers.
Those folks may need a political James Webb Space Telescope in addition to watching the Jan. 6 Select Committee hearings.
If you are Asian American and haven’t been watching, dump the Netflix app this week for the C-SPAN app and binge.
In the July 12 installment, we got a lot of JWST-type truth and as an extra, some lagniappe as I like to say, some Asian American history.
That’s because Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) was co-managing the Tuesday hearing along with Rep. Jamie Raskin.
Murphy, born Đặng Thị Ngọc Dung, is the first Vietnamese American woman elected to the House in 2017. She announced last December she would not run again in the midterm elections. That makes the committee work her swan song, her star turn as it were, as she introduced what some might say was the most emotional piece of evidence of the day.
It was a text message from Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale, who wrote on Jan. 6 about the riots taking place on the Capitol.
“This is about Trump pushing for uncertainty in our country, a sitting president asking for a civil war,” Parscale texted to Katrina Pierson. “I feel guilty for helping him win.”
When Pierson tried to relieve him of blame, Parscale texted back: “Yeah but a woman is dead, and yeah, if I was Trump and I knew my rhetoric killed someone…”
When Pierson again pushed back, Parscale insisted that it was, indeed, the rhetoric that killed.
It was a logical conclusion after testimony that backed up a damning narrative.
If you were hesitant to call Jan. 6 a planned coup, just watch the July 12 hearing. There’s more corroborating testimony from people in Trump’s inner circle like White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, who told us what happened from December of 2019 leading up to Jan. 6.
Trump knew he lost the election but kept searching for ways to hold on to power. Things came “unhinged” at a Dec. 18 meeting when Trump personal advisors Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Michael Flynn (a/k/a the “crazy ones”) suggested everything from foreign election interference (from China, Venezuela, Iran), to voting machine fraud, to a massive rally with the most rabid Trump supporters.
White House counsel suggested conceding the loss to Biden. But a loud, near violent argument ensued. The levelheaded Trump loyalists like Cipollone lost. And the crazies won.
Trump then tweeted: “Big protest in D.C, on January 6th. Be there. Will be loud.”
Murphy called it a “call to action and, in some cases, as a call to arms” for the MAGA base.
Murphy felt their rage.
The Vietnamese American member of Congress shared how she was the only member of the committee “who was not blessed to be born American.” She told how her family fled a communist government in Vietnam and was rescued by the U.S. Navy and given sanctuary in America.
It was an Asian American origin story to remind us of what it means to be an American.
And then Murphy noted the irony how decades later, while serving as a congresswoman, she was under attack on Jan. 6 from her fellow Americans.
It was another moment of context from an Asian American perspective that let us know how every American is a stakeholder in these hearings.
In other words, if you think the hearings are nonsense just for government nerds, consider the statement of Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi), the chair of the Jan. 6 Select Committee.
He knows how important the hearings are, especially for the BIPOC community.
“I am from a part of the country where had it not been for the federal government and the Constitution, my parents and many more Americans like them would have continued to be treated as second class citizens,” Thompson said. “The freedom to be able to vote without harassment, travel in relative safety, and dine and sit where you choose is because we have a government that looks over the wellbeing of its citizens.”
And that, Thompson said, did not happen on January 6 on Trump’s watch.
“It was an attack on our country,“ Thompson said. “An attack on our democracy, on our Constitution. A sitting president with a violent mob trying to stop the peaceful transfer of power from one president to another. It still makes my blood boil to think of it.”
Yours should be boiling too.
Or maybe you should be sensing the fear of a job that some see as incomplete if you saw the two live witnesses of the day.
Asian Americans, from Chinese to Filipino, like all people of color, know of the violence of an angry killing mob. This hearing featured the testimony of repentant rioters.
Jason Van Tatenhove, a former propagandist for the nationalist group, “The Oath Keepers,” warned that the country is “exceedingly lucky that more bloodshed did not happen because the potential was there from the start.”
He said it could get worse if Trump wins again.
Stephen Ayres, a Jan. 6 rioter who went to DC because he felt called by Trump, testified he felt lied to by the former president. He said after losing his job and his house, Jan. 6 changed his life for the worse.
Ayres warned Americans who still believe the big lie to “take the [horse] blinders off.”
Doesn’t take a telescope to see how close a failed coup imperiled our democracy on Jan. 6.
Of course, if you’re one of the folks who look at Jan. 6 and still believe there’s no there there, then by all means, use a telescope.