The anatomy of a 1/6 Commission

Nancy Pelosi has called for an investigation into the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol — a “1/6 Commission,” in the august tradition of the “9/11 Commission” of 2002. The 9/11 Commission wasn’t conducted by political hacks and partisan politicians with axes to grind or ambitions to fuel, and neither should the 1/6 Commission be. It must be composed of men and women selected for their academic and experiential qualifications and possessing unimpeachable (if you’ll pardon the expression) integrity. The fewer politicians the better. None, would be perfect.

The commission must also follow the evidence wherever it leads, without passion or prejudice. We need to know what happened, not promote the latest Oliver Stone or Michael Moore or QAnon-variety conspiracy theories. Insofar as is possible the Commission must find the truth, whatever that turns out to be. And let the chips fall where they may. But above all we don’t need any more Grassy Knoll crackpots. We have had our fill of those.

Obviously, if the bony finger of blame points back to Donald Trump then it can and will be used in a court of law, to paraphrase the Miranda card. That bony finger could prove to be ominous beyond the incendiary language Trump employed for the previous six months, up to and including his loony, provocative language at President’s Park South. It could include clandestine meetings and money paid out to paramilitary groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. This is possible, and if true, we must see it, if false, then we must show such notions the door and never permit ourselves to entertain them. We aren’t Republicans, after all. Again, if we’re after anything less or anything more than the truth then we are in error.

One important point such a commission could make is to establish the relationship domestic terror groups have with America’s elected officials, and expose the danger those relationships pose to national security. Hate speech has no place in American government, and the January attack on the Capitol Building has bitterly established that point.

Let’s not mince words here, there cannot be any rational doubt that white domestic terrorists are intimately associated with the Republican Party. One never looks upon angry mobs brandishing swastikas, white hoods and Confederate flags and thinks “Democrats.” If they’re not Republicans then it’s only ever because, for some of them, the Republican Party isn’t far right enough. The 1/6 Commission could and must officially denounce such relationships.

The output of such a commission should include recommendations for new federal guidelines and laws that ensure that such attacks can’t happen again. Or if they do happen again, that the perpetrators will no longer be able to act in concert with government officials and members of law enforcement. This is a big ask but Americans are equal to it. Particularly now when, for the first time in four years, a renewed feeling of freedom and toleration prevails once again in the nation’s capital. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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