COMMENT: The dog that didn’t bark

As in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story “Silver Blaze”, sometimes the best clues are things that didn’t happen.

The words not spoken or the question not asked can tell us about motivations and intention. Police investigators will tell you that when informing a suspect that an associate has been murdered, a culprit will not ask, “How? Why would he, if he already knows?

Sometimes a question is not asked because the answer is already assumed and unwelcome. During the January 6 hearings, we did not see any of the accused protesters appear before the committee and we asked why they participated. This was a question the committee apparently did not want to ask because the answer might contradict the story. After all, one could not legitimately be an insurgent if his intention was only to resolve questions of electoral integrity in order to ensure the validity of the announced result. The possibility of getting THIS response should be avoided.

But there is a much bigger question; a much larger question that is so obvious that its absence speaks volumes.

From the moment he walked down the escalator and announced, President Trump had a phalanx of opposition, both political and media. As his campaign progressed and his popularity grew, the opposition grew more intense. During his campaign and presidency, anti-Trump rhetoric shifted from derisive dismissal (the Huffington Post refusing to publish stories about Trump in its politics section) to hoaxes based on lies.

These included the Russia collusion hoax, the Steele dossier prostitute story, the claim that Russians were paying bounties to American soldiers in Afghanistan, that Trump called neo-Nazis ‘good people’ , that Trump was suggesting drinking or injecting bleach, that Trump was overfeeding koi fish in Japan, that Trump would launch a nuclear attack on North Korea, that he used tear gas on protesters to a biblical photo op, that Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation, that Trump told Jan 6 protesters to overthrow the government, that Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of the Beast, etc.

This relentless chain of hoaxes and hyperbolic rhetoric has had clear and tangible effects. A glaring example was when in October 2020 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley called Chinese General Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army to assure him that the United States had no intention of launching a strike against China and, according to The Washington Post, Li said, “If we’re going to attack, I’ll call you ahead. It won’t be a surprise.”

The anti-Trump narrative was so pervasive and powerful that it motivated our nation’s top general to seriously consider committing treason.

This brings us to the unasked question. If you think Trump is a threat to the survival of the planet, would you break a law to stop him?

If much of the population has been convinced that Trump is an existential threat, then to save the earth, wouldn’t some of them consider it a moral imperative to cheat in an election?

You can’t prove that something didn’t happen, but if it didn’t work, why are they doing it again? However, this time around, ANYONE who wants to make America great again is classified as “semi-fascist”.

Biden’s September 1 “Soul of the Nation” speech, or more specifically the “GET OFF MY LAWN” speech, was a study in direction and imagery worthy of a Hollywood production. The angry leader raising his clenched fists against a blood red background flanked by military guards is the iconic image of dictatorial power. The overwhelming mood was to demonize the opposition and strike fear into the hearts of citizens.

Parts of the transcript are relatively benign while other sections play on the caustic visual proclamation: if you oppose my program, you are the enemy of democracy.

In less than two years, Biden has gone from “American history is not up to any of us, not some of us, but all of us” to “But there is no doubt that the Republican Party today… is a threat to this country.

This brings us back to the unasked question.

If you think Trump is a threat to the survival of democracy, would you break a law to stop him?

The trap is set and I pray Republicans are smart enough to resist the bait because the only way Democrats will hold onto power in November is if Republicans become what they are falsely accused of being.

It’s just common sense.

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Brent Regan is the chairman of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee.