Arlene Violet: Congressional republicans fumble again

By Arlene Violet
Posted 5/28/21

Make no mistake: I think there should be a Congressional study commission that analyzes all domestic terrorist groups perpetrating violence. The Capitol onslaught on January 6 is an obvious choice. …

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Arlene Violet: Congressional republicans fumble again


Make no mistake: I think there should be a Congressional study commission that analyzes all domestic terrorist groups perpetrating violence. The Capitol onslaught on January 6 is an obvious choice. Further, the response by law enforcement and officials are particularly important investigative elements of the siege on the Capitol. It was a “no-brainer” for 25 republicans who voted “yes” vs. 175 republican “nays” to establish a Commission to look into that incident. Senate republican leader, Mitch McConnell, is opposing its formation.

It is a dangerous time in this country. The embrace of “The Big Lie” by so many ranking republicans who have also influenced the body politic bodes poorly for any reconciliation in the United States. It smacks of Nazi Germany propaganda.

Edwin James, in Hitler’s Biggest Lie (April 1943) defined “A big lie”, a German expression, as the use of a lie so colossal that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously”. Yet, that is what Hitler and the Nazis did by a misrepresenting facts in order to turn long-simmering anti-Semitism in Europe into the murder of millions of Jews.

The European Jews were blamed for the German loss in World War I by assertions that they pulled the strings in Britain, Russia, and the United States, which would be quite a feat in 1918 before television and social media. By setting the Jews up as the enemy, Hitler asserted that they had the right to annihilate the Jews as self -defense. Yet, by 1943, Hitler’s biggest lie was to say that Germany was not defeated in war in 1918, yet he pursued annihilation by lying that the Jews internally betrayed the country. Along with their “Comrades, the Marxists,” the Jews were excoriated for allegedly imputing responsibility on Hitler for economic problems by those conservatives, who viewed Hitler as the superhero of Germany, making the country great again.

Adolph Hitler’s primary rules, as historians noted, were: never to let the public cool off, never admit a fault or wrong, never concede that there may be some good in your enemies, never entertain any options, never accept blame, blame your enemy for anything that goes wrong, and keep repeating all of the above, according to Walter Langer, in The Character of Adolph Hitler (1943). Mr. Trump employed the same tactics.

To support the erroneous conclusion that he had won the election, Donald Trump and congressional republicans and their acolytes work daily to delegitimize President Joe Biden’s presidency. Conspiracy theories abounded in Germany as they do today with Arizona Republican legislators supporting a review of ballots to check for bamboo because votes for Mr. Biden were smuggled from China. The daily newspaper Volkischer Beobachter, lionized Hitler as conservative media in the United States did Mr. Trump. Both men used religion to demonize opponents.

Former President Trump continues to be the president -in-absentia for his followers. Venomous attacks are lobbed daily at the “leftists” and “socialists” or worse while republican emails address the recipient as “Loyal Patriot”.

Republican Congressional leaders are anything but leaders. Their antics erode the democracy they swore to defend. It’s a bleak time for the U.S. when their reelection is more important than their duty. They continue to disappoint.

Arlene Violet is an attorney and former Rhode Island Attorney General.

Arlene Violet

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.