With very few exceptions, speeches, like opinion columns, are short-lived: they may or may not be powerful enough to grab attention for more than a moment. Still, even if these plays briefly capture the audience’s interest, they quickly disappear from consciousness like mist drifting toward the sea.
I’ve been reminded of this fact since President Joe Biden’s brief and blunt speech on the first anniversary of the January 6, 2021, attack on Capitol Hill by a sad group of insurgents provoked by the sad president.
Watching Biden speak last week, I was impressed by the enduring remnants of his apparent understanding of the profound meaning of the occasion and his preference for simplicity over sublime language for serious reflection on that noisy day.
I was also impressed by Biden’s demeanor, which at least conveyed to me a palpable impatience, bordering on irritability, that he as president is obliged to list and refute Donald Trump’s barrage of rude lies about the 2020 election, which Lies have become evangelical rooted in millions of stupid Americans.
Biden also appears to be taking the guise of a prosecutor compelled by history and circumstances — the equivalent of a jury summary — not only to disprove the absurdity inherent in a string of vulgar lies, but to make a persuasive case against it. Trump is the mastermind behind the conspiracy to subvert the Constitution he once vowed to uphold, protect and defend.
Biden’s accusations actually include the following: Trump had made “big lies” long before he failed; Trump rallied and incited a mob to attack the Capitol to appease his pettiness; Trump was an uprising One of the “real masterminds” who defied “the will of the voters” out of desperation and a quest for power over principle; and, for hours, Trump refused to quell a violent uprising to prevent a peaceful transfer of power.
Biden eschewed the usual euphemisms and code words and instead blamed Trump directly, culminating in a stunning rebuke of his predecessor.
“Those who stormed the Capitol, those who incited and incited them, and those who called on them to do so, put daggers at the throat of America and American democracy,” Biden said.
I suspect that Biden’s appeal to reason and common sense, or his warnings about the potential existential consequences of their allegiance to a crafty dictator and his “shadow of lies”, will sway the legions of Trump’s fanatical truth-allergic supporters.
Knowing that Biden’s extraordinary rhetoric, no matter how compelling and accurate, is unlikely to shake the unshakable situation may partly explain how quickly America’s authoritative media has lost interest in them.
The less benevolent explanation is that too many American editors reaffirm that they have hamster attention.
evidence? In a separate news cycle, Biden’s candid and near-criminal portrayal of a former president as one of the key accomplices in encouraging, applauding and celebrating a deadly insurgency that threatens a constitutional republic without doing anything about it came to stop it, but was replaced by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz pleaded for forgiveness in a typically cowardly display on Fox News after describing the 1/6 as a “terrorist attack.”
Perhaps American editors belatedly recognized that the “fever” that has plagued Republicans for generations and left them unable to distinguish between fact and fiction, right from wrong, is now a perpetual pain beyond any rational remedy.
Apart from enlightened Americans who understand the sinister and insidious nature of the looming danger, the rest of the United States has apparently gone mad.
A speech cannot make up for the damage done by a thug turned commander-in-chief and his sycophants.
Pat’s rhetoric is not the prescription a divided America needs.
I think Biden knows this. Therefore, his candid and public indictment of Trump should inevitably lead to Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Justice Department notice.
While Trump and sick corporations can view Biden’s indictment as partisan politics and the media can quickly turn to Fox News’ next abomination, it’s hard for Garland to miss the importance of the current president’s damning condemnation of the former president and urgency. “A dagger in the throat of American democracy”.
Remember, Biden said – without explicitly naming – Trump orchestrated the 1/6, incited the 1/6, welcomed the 1/6’s general intent, and preferred to watch the 1/6 unfold on TV, Instead of emphasizing ending 1/6 .
As loyal readers of this column know, I believe that precedent and a reluctance to “taint” the presidency will combine to allow Trump to escape charge, just as they have allowed many other Oval Office felons to escape the dock.
After Biden’s denunciations and bit by bit revelations through convictions, which will certainly continue after the House committee investigates 1/6, I no longer believe Trump will avoid the legal punishment he has received.
Momentum is building like a wave on the horizon. The needle has gone from impossible to – hey, it can happen.
The Q-Anon maniacs, the Proud Boys with Tiki flashlights and all the other repugnant demagogues in prison who heard the leader’s call to arm on January 6 could see Trump finally delivering on the promise he made that day that “with you”.
What a wonderful ending that would be.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial position.