The racist subtext of the language could hardly have been clearer.
That the message was received is attested to by the deluge of racist threats that fell upon the two women, threats so vile the FBI advised Freeman to leave her house.
Living in fear
A Trump mob even pushed its way into the home of Moss’ elderly grandmother to effect a so-called “citizen’s arrest.”
In a stunt that speaks vividly to their utter juvenility, they had pizzas repeatedly sent to the older woman’s door.
Moss and Freeman say they live now in lingering fear, avoiding public places, declining to give their names to strangers.
“Do you know how it feels,” asked Freeman in video testimony, “to have the president of the United States to target you?”
Russell “Rusty” Bowers also went to Washington last week.
The Republican speaker of the Arizona House testified alongside two Georgia election officials.
He, too, described a life bound by simple values: keep your promises, don’t cheat, tell the truth. He, too, went through hell.
For refusing to support spurious claims of voter fraud — “We’ve got lots of theories,” he recalls Giuliani telling him, “we just don’t have the evidence” — he was hit with tens of thousands of hateful emails, voicemails and texts and subjected to weekly demonstrations at his house, where a panel truck displayed a video proclaiming him a pedophile.
This, as his daughter lay inside dying of a terminal illness.
Bowers was — inexplicably, still is — a Trump supporter.
But, he testified, “I do not want to be a winner by cheating.”
Again, simple values.
Mr. Smith, you will recall, also held simple values. He ends up kicked in the teeth by The Way Things Are.
He triumphs in the end — it’s Hollywood, after all — and the movie has gone on to become a classic one hates to love.
It’s cornier than Kellogg’s, cheesier than fondue, yet, it endures because it speaks to aspirations at the very core of American identity — to be decent, to be honorable, to be brave and to be good.
Tuesday’s hearing shrank the devastation wrought by Trump down to relatable dimensions of human lives and human loss, and that was important.
But just as importantly, it illuminated the stark choice forced upon us by his willingness to lie, cheat and steal his way to victory.
Cynicism and idealism are mutually exclusive. We cannot be defined by both. We can be a nation bound by the aspiration to simple values.
Or, no values at all.