By Charles Ellison | WURD Radio
How would you summarize the last few weeks of the Jan. 6th hearings?
First: The January 6th Committee itself and these public hearings are an essential exercise. We need to have them. It’s absolutely crucial Congress investigate and hold those who attacked it accountable because this is about governance, confidence and stability. If Congress fails at this function, public confidence in government (which is barely at 25%, according to Gallup polling) will erode further.
These hearings have been, on one hand, very revealing as they present information and gripping visuals we’ve never seen or were never aware of until now. As a former Capitol Hill staffer (who once worked in an office directly under the Dome), it was both angering and jarring to watch video of coup attackers storming through rooms and hallways in the Capitol that I know, personally, are some of the most secure, off-limits and unknown parts of the Congressional campus. We need to keep asking: how did they know about these spaces? Who told them where to go? That’s useful in not only educating the American public about the truth of what happened on January 6th, but also in creating a sense of urgency around this event as most Americans have lost interest or forgotten. These hearings also prove to us that this was not a “riot” or a “mob” – it was a highly organized and well-organized coup attempt. These people were dressed for an attack.
That said: this Committee is being very disingenuous in its equivocation on the topic of whether they should push for Trump’s prosecution. That’s dangerous. In 2016, Republicans had manufactured and sold absolute lies about crimes Hillary Clinton never committed that resulted in the mainstreaming of “lock her up” as a campaign chant. It’s absolutely insane that Trump and others have clearly committed dozens of crimes and committed treason – yet, Congressional Democrats, particularly with this Committee, can’t decide if he and others should be locked up.
What are some of the unspoken racial dynamics of the insurrection and the efforts by Trump and his team to discredit the election (one thing noted by Linn Washington today on WURD is that many of the cities targeted as fraudulent were majority Black and Brown — Philly, Detroit, Atlanta, Milwaukee, etc.). Would love your take on this.
Make no mistake about it: the coup on January 6th, 2021 was organized and carried out in direct response to the effective electoral performance of the Black vote in key presidential battleground states, including Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In essence, the Black vote dominated the Electoral College – the Electoral College is, indeed, an HBCU because of the strategic placement of Black voters in key states. Trump’s political ecosystem, including the Republican Party and aligned white nationalist groups, were strategically outmaneuvered by the Black vote and it triggered them into coordinated violence. Black voters should not underestimate our power at the polls.
The January 6th Committee Hearings are showing, in meticulous fashion, how the January 6th coup was a violent “whitelash” against Black electoral mobilization. Republicans & Trump’s team – in disbelief that they were defeated by Black voters – appeared obsessed with discounting those votes, even if it meant engaging in criminal conspiracy and fraud.
In other racial dynamics, it was very clever how the Committee’s first key testimony on Day One was from a young white female Capitol Hill police office who had been critically wounded on January 6th. She was previously unknown by the public. Optically, that move was designed to draw in more white viewers, to change white voter sentiment around the coup and to embarrass white Republicans in an effort to show the type of people the attack on the Capitol had hurt.
Who are Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Wandrea “Shaye” Moss? And what is the significance of their testimony?
Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, mother and daughter respectively, were two committed average Georgia election workers simply doing their job administering the 2020 election in their state. They were not only falsely accused of stealing votes, but their names were slandered publicly by Republican operatives, they became the target of President Trump, and they were actively harassed and had their lives ruined by an extensive network of white terrorist operatives.
The Moss and Freeman testimonies were the most gripping and heartbreaking. It is one more reason why all Black people in American should be watching the January 6th Committee hearings. No self-respecting Black person in America can walk away from watching the Moss and Freeman testimonies without being 1) angry and 2) driven to mobilize and vote against the people responsible for their distress, the Republican Party, in 2022. Clearly, based on the public response, most Black people were not aware of these two Black Georgia election workers and their struggles. Bringing their stories to light was both a necessary move for public information and also a very shrewd political move by Democrats on the committee who desperately need to activate Black voters in 2022 by showing them how real these threats are. Moss and Freeman’s experiences illustrate that threat.
The committee is pressing pause on hearings scheduled for next week citing “mountains of new evidence.” Why is there a deluge of new evidence at this stage of the hearings?
The American public isn’t the only audience for the hearings. It’s also designed for the participants in this coup. New and very
damaging information is being revealed, information that incriminates people is being disclosed daily. People who either participated directly in the coup, planned it or have relevant information regarding leaders of it are now scared. Meanwhile, we are seeing slow movement from the Justice Department as FBI raids are increasing. The Committee is clearly sending a signal that it is giving those who have information a “last chance” to come forward. This delay is really a necessary move to ensure the door is open … but, it will close at some point.
What’s next here?
Still: both the House January 6th Committee and the Justice Department must keep public opinion in mind and move swiftly. It is insane that voters are putting more focus on inflation and higher gas prices, items that will always stabilize at some point, over the fate of democracy – which will never return once destroyed. Trump must be held criminally responsible. At the very least, we should not be having any conversation about him running for president again in 2024 because the evidence clearly shows he staged a coup – and the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, Section 3 is very explicit that individuals who commit treason against the nation’s government must be disqualified and barred from running for office again. The role of the Republican Party in staging a coup and still attempting to overthrow the legitimate government must be revealed to voters. They must be held accountable by this Committee, by the law and by voters.
Charles Ellison is the Executive Producer/Host of “Reality Check” on WURD and Publisher of theBEnote.com. @ellisonreport on Twitter
The post Charles Ellison’s Reality Check on the Jan. 6th Hearings first appeared on WURD Radio.