What Have We Lost, What Will We Do?
Reflections and Resolutions
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For new readers, here are links to a few previous posts that will bring you up to date on what the Feathers of Hope network has been doing :
Wait, Exactly How Will We Do This? — (January 28)
Replacing McCarthy - A Progress Report — (February 16)
Moderate Republicans? Really? — (March 2)
Spread The Word, Write or Call Today — (April 6)
Escape From MAGA World — (May 3)
Is There A Crack In The Wall? — (June 29)
Feathers of Hope is a network of ordinary citizens committed to advocating for the removal and replacement of Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House, thereby diminishing the power and influence of MAGA extremists in the chamber.
We have been urging moderate Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives to form a temporary bipartisan majority voting bloc for the purpose of passing a motion to “vacate the chair” and elect a new Republican Speaker who owes nothing to the minority MAGA group.
A Personal Note
For seven months I've been publishing these weekly posts about the failure of Kevin McCarthy's tenure as Speaker of the House, and about this network's effort to remove and replace him. As stated in the introduction to each post, our ultimate goal is "...diminishing the power and influence of MAGA extremists in the chamber."
To remain focused on this goal, I've mostly avoided discussing other political issues, particularly those involving the Executive and Judicial branches. But the indictment of former President Donald Trump for conspiring to obstruct the certification of his successor's election is too profoundly historic an event to let pass without comment.
There was little surprising in the details of the indictment. We already knew about the fake electors, the fake claim of voter fraud, the fake theory of Vice-Presidential powers. Likewise, we know all about Mr. Trump's life-long practice of lying and cheating, his scams, and his sexual assaults. And though we hadn't known about it, there was no surprise when we learned about his hoarding of classified documents and the associated cover-up attempts.
And yet, somehow this time it feels different. Certainly the crimes are more serious. But it's not just that. There is a sense that this time the violation is personal to us individually. Far less abstract than tax evasion or mishandling of documents, it feels like he has taken something valuable from each of us.
The feeling I have today is very much like what I felt once many years ago. On that day, I came home to find the front door standing open. Someone had broken in, ransacked the house and taken a few valuables and a brief case containing some personal papers. The papers, while important to me, were not really irreplaceable. But what was irreplaceable was the sense that my home was safe and secure. The threshold between my personal life and my public life had been violated.
Throughout all of our lifetimes, America's democracy has felt safe and secure. Despite its many failings, there has always been the reassuring sense that whatever outrages may be perpetrated by any of our elected officials, an opportunity to vote the scoundrels out is always on the horizon. Yes, their replacements may turn out to be scoundrels as well. But they too will soon need to face the voters' judgment.
Reading the indictment in Case No. 123:-cr-00257-TSC , United States of America v. Donald J Trump, Defendant, we learn that our democratic home has been ransacked by the one indidual we entrusted to be ultimately responsible for its safety and security. No longer do we enjoy the comfort of knowing that there will always be another election where our votes will be counted and our voices heard.
For those who are politically active, even if that activism extends no further than registering and voting, the crimes Donald Trump committed are a personal affront, a form of theft. (Only the judge and jury are required to presume Mr. Trump's innocence. The rest of us have the right to presume his guilt, and I do so without hesitation.)
Donald Trump has attempted to rob from us our rightful place in the democratic order of this republic. While he failed in his attempted robbery, he has inflicted a grievous wound to our faith in that order. It is a wound that may never heal.
How is the indictment related to our network’s effort?
We have long referred to the far-right extremists in the House of Representatives as the MAGA extremists, the MAGA minority, or the MAGA/ Freedom Caucus faction. It has become so routine to do so, that we may have inadvertently lost track of this obstructionist bloc’s geneology. Lest there be any doubt, it’s ultimate source is Donald Trump. The name itself is an abbreviation of his 2016 campaign slogan, as emblazoned on his signature red baseball caps.
Therefore, all of our efforts to isolate and marginalize the MAGA members of the House of Representatives are also intended to weaken the power and influence of the former President. And it is crucial that we re-commit ourselves to confronting and challenging them for the following extraordinarily important reason.
The House of Representatives is the one place where a Trump-allied coalition wields actual power within our government. So that is also the one place where we can inflict a truly meaningful defeat on MAGA power. With seats and a chairmanship on important committees, as well as significant control over the Speaker of the House, MAGA forces are well-positioned not only to damage the integrity of that chamber. They can, and have, inflicted damage on the country itself.
Little noticed because of the Trump indictment but of paramount importance, the credit-rating agency Fitch Ratings Inc., downgraded our nation’s credit rating on Tuesday, August 1. It was an unexpected move, and the Biden administration has vigorously objected. But there’s no disputing that there has been, in the words of the agency, “a steady deterioration in standards of governance over the last 20 years.” Fitch cited as one example among others, “repeated debt-limit political standoffs and last-minute resolutions.”
As we noted in our May 30 post, Joe Biden Knows How To Negotiate and Win :
“In its own way, the attempt to engineer a default on our nation’s debt was the biggest threat to the republic since January 6, 2021. And those responsible for bringing us to the brink of economic catastrophe are the same ones who celebrate those insurrectionists who’ve been identified, charged and convicted for their participation in the violent assault on our Capitol.
With seats in Congress and on influential committees, they remain a threat to be guarded against.”
And as if responding to the Fitch down-grade with more of the same “political standoffs”, the MAGA/Freedom Caucus faction is now intent on shutting down the government, further corroding our standards of governance.
As we noted in last week’s post, Look, Over There! :
“With a dozen (appropriation) bills all still needing to pass both the House and Senate to finance the government into the Fall, we can be certain of another dramatic “crisis” around the time of the autumnal equinox. (September 21)
There’ll be the threat of a government shutdown, then a round of posturing about the perils of a “continuing resolution” (CR) which funds operations at current levels for a specified period. The CR debate will lead to a big “showdown” between an intransigent MAGA/Freedom Caucus contingent and Republican House members who live in the real world where legislation becomes law only when passed by the Senate and signed by the President.”
Donald Trump’s indictment strengthens our resolve to strike a blow against his MAGA movement.
For us, that means re-committing to our effort: persuade the same bipartisan majority that passed the debt ceiling law to remove and replace Speaker Kevin McCarthy. As regular readers of Feathers of Hope know, we’ve recently been focusing our effort on urging Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) to step forward and lead a movement to “vacate the chair” and put his name in contention for the Speakership. Mr. Bacon’s phone numbers are: 202-225-4155 (D.C. )— and— 402-938-0300 (District)
This month the House is in recess and Representatives are in their home districts, so it’s a good idea to reach out to them there. Also, while corresponding with one of our network members (Robert) a couple weeks ago, the idea of contacting local Republican and Democratic committee members came up. These are low-profile political professionals who are likely to have personal contact with their representative. I think it’s a good way to maybe break through the protective layer of aides we usually reach with our calls.
I googled “Douglas County Republicans” (Mr. Bacon’s Omaha district), and found this: Douglas County Republican Party, https://www.dcrponline.com.
The Committee Chair is listed as Chris Routhe, his email address is: Chairman@DCRPOnline.com. Two other officers are also listed: Executive Director Chris Nelson, email address: Exec@DCRPOnline.com and Treasurer James Houlihan, email address: Treasurer@DCRPOnline.com
The Democratic Committee in Mr. Bacon’s district is called simply Douglas County Democrats, https://douglascountydemocrats.com and is chaired by C.J. King, email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
With Representative back home this month for recess, now would be an excellent time to contact these party committee members and acquaint them with our proposal. If you’re feeling especially inspired, look up the committees in other swing districts where moderate Republicans and Democrats may be open to working across the aisle to defeat MAGA. You can share that info by posting in the comments section below.
Keep in mind that this is a novel idea, and what we’re trying to do is initiate a conversation among local party leaders. If they start getting multiple emails about the same subject, they’ll likely mention it to one another.
Today we are in the midst of an extraordinarily consequential moment, presenting us with an unique opportunity. We are prepared and focused. By each of us doing our part, together we can help bury MAGA.
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