While Washington burns, enchanted evening relief from hot air floats from the Folger Theatre’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
In real midsummer 2022, we’re caught in an agonizing Greek drama, with a Shakespearean villain. Some leading scenes and characters follow.
(Advisory: avoid choking on your morning coffee.)
Young and somber, Cassidy Hutchinson is like mythical Cassandra. She spoke in slow, rhythmic cadences telling the truth about the offstage sound and fury of former President Donald Trump, before and during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
An agape world heard her testimony in a Jan. 6 House select committee hearing on the Capitol storming by a massive armed mob.
The witness inside the White House West Wing that day, as an aide, hit the pitch-perfect note: “Un-American.”
We could see Trump’s porcelain plate of lunch thrown, with bloodlike ketchup trickling down the lovely White House walls.
Oh yes, he’s American Macbeth. Central casting.
The election loser, Trump was murderous in plotting against any leader in his way to more power. Vice President Mike Pence, whom the mob hunted, was first on his list.
Then came the five-alarm reveal that Trump really, really wanted to lead the mob march to the Capitol after his speech inciting the tens of thousands.
As Hutchinson told it, Trump lunged at a Secret Service agent driving him to the White House, so desperate was he to go to the Capitol to confront and disrupt Congress.
The marble temple was full of lawmakers, certifying the election.
The stage was set for a coup.
As a sage editor noted, if that one driver gave into the raging Trump, we might be in a very different place right now.
American democracy almost fell into a demagogue’s hands.
Cassandra’s fate as a truth-teller was that nobody believed her. However, Hutchinson’s tale rang as all too true.
Even their names, Cassandra and Cassidy, echo across time.
In the prime-time hearing, members of Congress sat still and wiped tears from their eyes as they heard how Trump refused to call off the deadly mob for three hours – “187 minutes” was the Greek chorus.
They heard gunshots inside the Capitol – so did I – and cries coming closer to their chambers. They feared for their lives.
In the dust of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down reproductive rights in Roe v. Wade, the House Republicans crept one step farther into your most private lives.
Maybe we should all know this chilling fact, in case the radical Republicans soon take over the blue House.
In the raucous chamber, I watched a floor vote on the human right to contraception. Nearly 200 House Republicans oppose contraception, now on record. So they say.
What they do in their private lives, who knows? Honestly, who cares?
My question: Have they read “Lysistrata?”
Meanwhile, in a courthouse near the Capitol, a top Trump strategist, Steve Bannon, was on trial. Scruffy and defiant on the sidewalk, a minor player, he pledged allegiance to Trump.
The night before Jan. 6, he declared, “All hell is going to break loose.”
But Bannon refused to speak to the select committee at all and never took the stand.
The jury found him guilty of criminal contempt for Congress.
The judge, Carl J. Nichols, was named by Trump, a piquant twist. Bannon’s appeal and sentence remain to be seen.
House Republicans did better on gay marriage, another vote Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., smartly pressed to the floor. Election season is in the air. Only 157 opposed it. Call it progress.
Seventeen Democratic House members got arrested under the hot sun near the Supreme Court, protesting the Roe v. Wade overturn.
“Like coming home,” Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said of the rights protest, citing the late civil rights hero John Lewis’ motto of getting in “Good Trouble.”
Rep. Jackie Speier, also a California Democrat, organized the demonstration. Nobody went to jail. Sixteen women and only one man, Michigan’s Rep. Andy Levin, got into the act.
Why this tragic flaw?
“Ask them,” Lee replied, meaning about 130 men in the caucus.
Democrats must show a better ensemble to win under the sun and against the winds.