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October 23, 2021

Leonard Pitts: Dear Mike Pence …

Dear Mike Pence:

Most of them are fervid adherents of bizarre conspiracy theories and fascist dogmas that might yet burn this country down.

Many of them spew a noxious slurry of racial, religious and sexual hatreds that defame the principles we purport to hold dear.

And on Jan. 6 of this year, a mob of them broke into the U.S. Capitol. They injured police officers. They drove Congress from its own house. They looted government property. They called for federal officials — including you — to be lynched. They smeared feces on the walls.

But you say it’s “the media” who are demeaning the supporters of that Florida man who used to be president?

That, at least, was your claim last week on Fox “News.” You told Sean Hannity, “I know the media wants to distract from the Biden administration’s failed agenda by focusing on one day in January. They want to use that one day to try and demean the character and intentions of 74 million Americans who believed we could be strong again and prosperous again and supported our administration in 2016 and 2020.”

So in your telling, the dreaded “media” are conniving to keep people from noticing President Biden’s challenges? This would be the same “ media” that have exhaustively reported on the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and the mistreatment of Haitians at the border?

With apologies to Spock: fascinating. But not at all surprising. Because it is increasingly true that what characterizes the political right is not its policy proposals — it has none — but its cognitive dissonance, its inability to engage with reality.

Bad enough a right-wing horde smashes into the citadel of American democracy because they didn’t like the outcome of the election. What’s infinitely worse — what’s flat-out pathetic — is all the alleged conservatives downplaying, blame-shifting — and even lionizing — that act of insurrection.

Like Devin Nunes, who thinks Nancy Pelosi shares the blame. Or Marjorie Taylor Greene, who calls the jailed rioters political prisoners. Or Tucker Carlson, who says there was no insurrection. Now here you come, former vice president of the United States, no less, crowding into the clown car with them. Really, sir, have you no shame? Is there no low to which you will not stoop?

Colin Kaepernick took a knee in quiet protest of police brutality, and you people acted like he’d made a drop cloth of the Constitution.

Rioters in Minneapolis torched a Target store after George Floyd’s murder — a lamentable act, yes, but you people acted like they’d wiped themselves with the American flag.

Yet a mob rampages through the very seat of government, and it’s just “one day in January”? Seriously?

One has to wonder: Did you people ever really love this country or was that just something you said back when folks like you were the only ones in charge, nobody else had a voice and you thought it would be that way always?

Look, the Florida man lost a fair election. And, your “74 million Americans” notwithstanding, it wasn’t even close; 81 million voted for Biden. This was settled almost a year ago, yet the right still can’t come to terms with it, still embarrasses itself and this country on a daily basis with its inability to face what is. Even to the point — it bears repeating — of smearing its feces on the wall!

Now you say media are out to “demean” you all? Why would media bother?

You’ve done an excellent job of demeaning yourselves.

Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Miami, Fla., 33172. Readers may contact him via e-mail at lpitts@
miamiherald.com.

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