Commentary

FDR’s back, and he’s got something to say about another ‘date which will live in infamy’

January 6, 2022 9:26 am

President Franklin D. Roosevelt speaking at Arlington Cemetery in 1935. Photo courtesy Library of Congress

In a world of fantastical conspiracies and alternate political universes, the ghost of President Franklin D. Roosevelt returned today to mark the first anniversary of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol with a fresh take on speech to Congress 80 years ago about the infamous attack on the Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor. 

Let’s just say the “Squire of Hyde Park” is pretty damned pissed.

FDR’s GHOST: Madam Vice President, Madam Speaker, Members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives:

One year ago, on January 6, 2021 — another date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked, despite the existence of hundreds of whacked out, right-wing posts on Facebook and other social media by fanatical followers of President Donald J. Trump.

On that date, as we know, the United States wasn’t exactly at peace with itself, having just experienced a wave of mass social justice protests the summer before and the endless ravings of  Trump, a former reality TV star turned wannabe emperor.

Indeed, in the days leading up to the attack on our Capitol, Trump continued to insist that he was the rightful victor of the 2020 presidential election. 

Which we all knew was poppycock!

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Trump’s statements were useless to those of us who knew there was absolutely no evidence of substantial fraud in the country, and our intelligence agencies should have heeded more than a few hints of the imminent armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance between the Capitol, the White House, and Trump’s “command center” at the Willard Hotel make it obvious the traitorous assault on the cradle of our democracy was deliberately planned many days or even weeks in advance! 

During the intervening time, the former president and his followers deliberately sought to deceive the American people by repeating false statements about election fraud and their hope for a continuation of his presidency.

In the months since, the January 6 attack on the Capitol has caused severe damage to American morale and the most sacrosanct institutions of our democracy. I regret to tell you that very many Republicans, some 70% according to a recent poll, still think Trump won the last election and largely believe the attack on the Capitol was justified. 

My fellow Americans, forgive my French, but what the f—, man?!

In addition, the rights of the American people have been reportedly torpedoed by more than 440 proposed voter suppression laws in 49 states, from Florida to Wisconsin.

Say it with me, people: What the f—, man!

This week, Trump abruptly canceled a January 6 press conference he planned to host at Mar-a-Lago, after Sen. Lindsey “I-can’t-decide-if-I-love-or-hate-the-crazy-son-of-a-bitch” Graham of South Carolina told the former president on a recent golf outing, “[The press conference] will be an event that won’t penetrate the way you would like…” 

And we all know about how Trump will try to penetrate anything that moves.

Yesterday, Attorney General Merrick Garland said he plans to hold the “January 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law…” adding that he will “follow the facts wherever they lead.” 

As my distant cousin, the great President Teddy Roosevelt, might say, “Bully on you, Merrick!”

Today, Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi is commemorating the one-year anniversary of the insurrectionist attack and honoring the officers who valiantly defended the Capitol. 

Well, bully on her!

On Sunday, Rep. Liz Cheney, vice-chair of the bipartisan House Select Committee investigating the attack — a Republican, no less — said, “Our party has to choose. We can either be loyal to Donald Trump or we can be loyal to the constitution, but we cannot be both.”

Well, bully on her! 

Okay, I’ve worn that out.

GOP leaders, nevertheless, led by a twice-impeached, morally reprehensible former president, have undertaken a years-long campaign extending across the country to break our confidence in our elections.

My fellow Americans, Democrat, Republican and independent alike, the facts about January 6 speak for themselves! A strong majority of the people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications of the attack on the very life and safety of our nation.

I exhort President Joseph Biden not to make the same mistake America did ahead of the attack on Pearl Harbor — although I gotta say, I lay most of the blame on the spineless isolationists in Congress back then.

Rather, Mr. President, take all measures for our defense, even if that means throwing out the Senate filibuster and passing the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and do it before it is too late!

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated insurrection, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our Attorney General, with the bipartisan House Select Committee, with the hundreds of amateur sleuths known as “sedition hunters” on the internet, whatever that is, and with the unbounding determination of our people, who I gotta say are a lot darker today then they were back in my day, we will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us God!

Eight decades after the attack on Pearl Harbor, I ask that Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack on January 6, 2021, a state of emergency has existed between the United States and Trump’s army of far-right foot soldiers, who, as all good people of this great nation understand, are the true “enemies of the people.”

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James E. Garcia
James E. Garcia

James E. Garcia is a Phoenix-based journalist, playwright and communications consultant. He is the editor and publisher of Vanguardia Arizona, which covers Latino news statewide, and the weekly newsletter Vanguardia America. As a journalist, he has worked as a reporter, columnist, editor and foreign correspondent. He was the first Latino Affairs correspondent for KJZZ, and the first Latino editor of major progressive news weekly in the U.S., The San Antonio Current. James has taught writing, ethnic studies, theater and Latino politics at ASU. He is the producing artistic director of New Carpa Theater Co. and the author of more than 30 plays.

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