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Idiots’ Delight

December 11, 2020

Decades ago, when I was a lad, my dad taught me a card game called Idiots’ Delight. Little did we know …

Robert Kahn

By Robert Kahn

Deputy editor emeritus, Courthouse News

Of all the peculiar things in this post-election fiasco, perhaps the strangest is that while Republicans whine that Democrats conspired in the shadows to steal the election, Republicans are trying to steal it right out in the open.

I mean, come on. President Drumpf called the Pennsylvania House this week to ask if Speaker Bryan Cutler could do something “legislatively” to appoint a slate of 20 electors to vote for Trump in a state he lost by 81,660 votes.

He’s gone to court to try to stop Michigan from certifying its 16 electoral votes, in a state he lost by nearly 160,000 votes, and pressed leaders in that state and in Georgia to simply throw out the results and appoint electors for him.

We have seen overt calls for violence from the Trumpist right, directed at relatively minor, caretaker officials such as members of state and county election boards.

Elections officials in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Vermont and Wisconsin have been threatened for simply doing their jobs.

A Black woman who serves in the Michigan Assembly received this email threat: “You’re getting doxed bitch. You’re done. You’re so fucking done. You should be swinging from a fucking rope, you Democrat.” This because she participated in a hearing in which Rudy Giuliani repeated Trump’s baseless claims of vote fraud. And is a Democrat.

And how did Republicans around the nation respond to this threat to lynch a Black legislator?

Well, the Arizona Republican Party retweeted a post from a right-wing blogger who claimed he was “willing to give up my life for this fight” against Joe Biden’s election. In its retweet, the Arizona Republican Party added: “He is [willing to give up his life]. Are you?”

The Republican Majority Leader in the Pennsylvania state Senate said that Drumpf called and asked her to declare the state’s election fraudulent. She did not sign a letter to the state’s congressional delegation asking them to declare the election fraudulent, but 64 cowardly Republican legislators did.

“If I would say to you, ‘I don’t want to do it,’” she told The New York Times, “‘I’d get my house bombed tonight.’”

This week a man forced his way into the Spokane County Democratic Party office in Washington and claimed he had a bomb, then set a fire in the office. The chair of the Washington state Democratic Party said: “Sadly, Democratic Party organizations have been subject to this sort of harassment quite a bit since Donald Trump took office.”

Yet Republicans from Drumpf right on up to Neighborhood Watch commanders have accused “leftist” Democrats of fomenting violence.

Democratic state Rep. Darrin Camilleri in Michigan received an email saying: “Be prepared to take your last meal,” and another one: “We’re looking forward to bring back firing squads.” He and his parents have received “more than 20 death threats” which he referred to law enforcement, he told The Washington Post.

Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz said: “You see from the radical left a bloodlust …”

Bloodlust? For certifying a presidential election?

Missouri Senator Josh Hawley calls Biden a “socialist” and a “corporatist” — whatever that could possibly mean. Last I heard, Marxists weren’t too fond of big corporations.

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson accused Senate Democrats of trying to enact “crazy socialist” policies: of wanting “to fundamentally change our country. And you can’t love something you want to fundamentally change.”

This is classic propaganda. First, Johnson falsely “defined” Democrats as wanting to “fundamentally change our country,” without saying how, or in what ways, or how he knows that. Then he says Democrats couldn’t possibly love the United States, because of how he just “defined” them.

Geez, Senator Ron. Study Aristotle on Logic, will you? I know, if he were alive today, Aristotle would be a Democrat. Just another Leftist Logician.

And in Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton — who is under indictment for felony securities fraud — filed a ridiculous lawsuit directly to the Supreme Court, against Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia — for the heinous crime of determining that Biden won the election, by a cumulative 274,495 votes in those four states — and their 62 votes in the electoral college.

But for sheer idiocy, it’s hard, as usual, to beat Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who objected to scientists’ and doctors’ suggestions that we not travel over the year-end holidays, to clamp down on the pandemic: “Twitter Leftists (Scientists and doctors are ‘Twitter Leftists?’) are losing their minds that we’re not willing to give up Thanksgiving. Wait till they find out we won’t give up Christmas either.”

Give up Thanksgiving? Give up Christmas?

I never liked reading Joseph Goebbels, but I suppose someone’s got to do it. Thanks for buckling down to it, Ted. Be sure to tell us what you pick up from him next.

The best analysis of this immense, wretched stain on our country came from Chris Hedges this week, writing for the Information Clearing House. He cited the German Social Democrat Kurt Schumacher, who wrote in the 1930s that fascism “is a constant appeal to the inner swine in human beings” and succeeds by “mobilizing human stupidity.” 

To which I would add: and cowardice.

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