Is the American Myth Unraveling?
Plus, What’s the Downside for Humoring Him . . . Until He Dies?
Recently at The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: They Keep Telling Us Who They Are.
SONNY BUNCH: David Warner, 1941–2022.
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THEODORE R. JOHNSON: Is the American Myth Unraveling?
The news this summer is well suited to make us feel unsettled, disrupted, and anxious about our country: The January 6th Committee hearings are revealing just how close our democracy came to being fatally wounded by the previous president. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe after half a century during which abortion was understood to be constitutionally protected has directly resulted in disturbing medical stories in several states. Mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde and Highland Park, gas that shot up to $5 a gallon, midterm primary elections with no shortage of anti-democracy candidates, parents arguing about when (or if) their children should learn about race and gender and sex—the list goes on and on.
These stories are not just indicators of policy failures, or of a ratcheting up of social tensions out of political expedience, or of threats to our democracy. They also hint at something more insidious: the possibility that our story is breaking—that we have lost the thread on our shared American narrative, and an unraveling is underway.
Trump voters are ready to take on and take out Liz Cheney, as well as fellow Trump impeachment supporters Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse. The New Yorker’s Susan Glasser joins Sarah to discuss tribalism, “Wyoming Values,” and Cheney being forged into a national leader before our eyes.
What should Congress and the Department of Justice do with all the shocking new details presented by the Jan. 6th Committee, and how is it changing conservative media? Will Saletan’s back with Amanda Carpenter for Summer Mondays.
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CATHY YOUNG: Sicknick Trutherism Redux.
If Trump does run again, the Sicknick family, Garza, and Officer Edwards would make very compelling spokespeople against him.
Ultimately, it is impossible to know with certainty just how responsible the mob (and its instigators) were for Sicknick’s death. Anyone claiming that he died directly from injuries at rioters’ hands is being at best incredibly sloppy and at worst outright deceptive (and feeding the “fake news” trope). And anyone claiming that the officer’s death had nothing to do with the events of Jan. 6th is overstepping the facts.
But let’s keep it in perspective. The violence on Jan. 6th, Trump’s sickening indifference, and the question of accountability matter far more.
We are all, by now, familiar with the most appalling, “boy did that age poorly” anonymous quote in the history of American politics, published by the Washington Post less than two months before the deadly siege of the U.S. Capitol and the attempted assassination of the vice president:
“What’s the downside for humoring him?” they mused.
This pearl of anti-wisdom has become a bumper sticker for Republican cowardice ever since it was published. It has been lambasted by political rivals, Twitter smartasses, and websites populated by Enemies of the People.
The quote was rattling around my brain last Thursday night as I watched Liz Cheney ruthlessly eviscerate her cowering colleagues like a lioness gnawing on a carcass in an NC-17 nature documentary. But it was during that savage meal that something rather alarming occurred to me.
Liz might be winning the argument for history and in my living room. But in present-day Republican politics, that anonymous “what’s the downside for humoring him” moron actually won the day.
Happy Monday! There are storms in the Washington region today and the sky has that tornado threatening look. Hope all our readers in the area stay safe. Bring in your umbrellas and other things that could fly away in 60 mile an hour winds. (Ours after a recent trip was bent like a victim in Stranger Things.)
Matt Labash on Josh Hawley… Running with the devil.
Last Stand at Azovstal: The NYT takes you inside the siege that helped shape the Ukraine war, which, guaranteed, will be a Michael Bay-style film in the near future.
The coming Chicken Nugget wars. Sandwiches are so pre-pandemic.
J.D. Vance and unhappy marriages… The Thiel-supported candidate who is running low on funds is under fire for controversial comments about unhappy / potentially abusive marriages. Ironic, in a way, since his candidacy has left many Ohio Republicans unhappy because of his frequency to leave the trail in Ohio to go other places.
Millennials stay close to home. A new study found that most of them stay within a few hundred miles of where they grew up.
“The Claremont Institute triumphed in the Trump years….” Then came Jan. 6.
Disney pisses off the Dems. After its streaming service, Hulu, rejected a spate of political ads going into the midterms. (This is probably the right call!)
Sex, drugs, and tourism. And Amsterdam’s soul. An interesting profile of the town’s mayor, who’d like those things to be more absent, as they were during the pandemic.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.