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COMMENTARY: The dog that didn't bark

by BRENT REGAN/Common Sense
| September 9, 2022 1:00 AM

As in the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 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 intent. Police investigators will tell you that when they inform a suspect that an associate was murdered, a guilty man 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 Jan. 6 hearings we did not see any of the accused protestors brought before the committee and asked why they participated. That was a question the committee apparently did not want asked as the answer could contradict the narrative. After all, one couldn’t legitimately be an insurrectionist if their intent was only to resolve questions of election integrity so as to ensure the validity of the declared outcome. The possibility of getting THAT answer must be avoided.

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

From the moment he rode down the escalator and announced, President Trump had a phalanx of opposition, both political and in the media. As his campaign progressed and his popularity increased the opposition became more intense. During the course of his campaign and into his presidency the anti-Trump rhetoric evolved from mocking dismissal (Huffington Post refusing to run Trump stories in their political section) to full-on hoaxes based on lies.

These included the Russia Collusion Hoax, the Steele Dossier hooker story, the claim that Russians were paying bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, that Trump called Neo-Nazis “fine people,” that Trump suggested drinking or injecting bleach, that Trump overfed koi fish in Japan, that Trump would launch a nuclear attack on North Korea, that he used tear gas on protesters for a Bible photo op, that Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation, that Trump told Jan. 6 protestors to overthrow the government, that Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of the Beast, etc…

This incessant string of hoaxes and hyperbolic rhetoric had clear and tangible effects. A glaring example was when in October 2020 Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley called Chinese Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army to assure him that the U.S. had no intention of launching a strike against China and, according to the Washington Post, told Li, "If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”

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

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

If a large fraction 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 on an election?

You can’t prove something didn’t happen, but if it didn’t work, why are they doing it again? However this time ANYONE wanting to Make America Great Again is classified as a “semi-fascist.”

Biden’s Sept. 1 “Soul of the Nation,” or more accurately the “GET OFF MY LAWN” speech, was a study in stagecraft and imagery worthy of a Hollywood production. The angry leader raising clenched fists against a blood red backdrop, flanked by military guards is the iconic image of dictatorial power. The overwhelming vibe was to demonize the opposition and put fear in the hearts of citizens.

Portions of the transcript are relatively benign while other sections play to the caustic visual proclamation: If you oppose my agenda, you are the enemy of democracy.

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

This returns us to the unasked question.

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

The trap is set and I pray that Republicans are smart enough to resist the bait because the only way for the Democrats to retain power in November is for Republicans to become that which they are falsely accused of being.

It’s just common sense.

• • •

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

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