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I'm Jane Pauley, and this is Sunday Morning. 1952. Harry Truman was president. Winston Churchill was Britain's prime minister.
And a gallon of gas was 27 cents. 1952 was also the year a 25-year-old Princess Elizabeth became the Queen of England. Now, 70 years later, Britain is celebrating its longest reigning monarch on this, her platinum jubilee weekend.
Our Mark Phillips is there. It's an exercise in nostalgia with toy soldier uniforms and princes and princesses. It's another episode of Royal Family Feud. It's a tribute to a 96-year-old widow from a grateful nation. Your Majesty, you're not alone?
Absolutely. She'll never be alone. She's not alone now. And it's an excuse after a long lockdown and in newly trying times for a party.
It's a platinum jubilee. There's never been anything like it coming up on Sunday morning. She's a Republican member of Congress at odds with her own party. Bob Costa this morning talks with Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney. As one of the leaders of the January 6 investigation, Liz Cheney has made powerful enemies within the party her family has supported since the Civil War. Does it ever get too much, the threats against you, the criticism from the former president and his allies? Do you ever say, I'm done?
No, because I love this country so much, and I won't allow someone like Donald Trump to unravel the democracy. Liz Cheney prepares to make a case to the nation ahead on Sunday morning. Our Ben Mankiewicz is catching up with Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges. Looking back on a long career and sharing word of a comeback you may have known nothing about.
One of the screen's best and busiest actors, Jeff Bridges, was noticeably absent in recent years. Yeah, yeah, oh, yeah, been away for a while with the cancer and the COVID and the whole thing, you know. What he calls the whole thing nearly took his life. My doctors were saying, Jeff, you gotta fight. And I said, what are you talking about, man?
I'm in surrender mode. The recovery and resilience of Jeff Bridges later on Sunday morning. And much more. David Pogue looks into a soft serve situation at McDonald's, complete with a twist. Plus a story from Steve Hartman, opinion from John Dickerson, all this Sunday morning, the 5th of June, 2022. And we'll be right back. Perhaps you would like a marmalade sandwich. I always keep one for emergencies.
So do I. I keep mine in here. It's a weekend of performance, pomp and circumstance in Great Britain, honoring the nation's beloved 96-year-old Queen Elizabeth. Mark Phillips is our guide. This is the way royal milestones used to be proclaimed and occasionally still are. Today, here in Royal Windsor, we come together to celebrate Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee. Meanwhile, at Buckingham Palace, this is the way royal milestones like 70 years on the throne are proclaimed now.
Everything about this Platinum Jubilee is unprecedented for the simple reason that it's never happened before. No monarch has ever sat on the top of the British aristocratic tree for so long. This Jubilee has been a bit of a royal shell game because the Queen has difficulty moving around these days.
No one's been quite sure when and where she'll show up. The days are long gone when she could take ceremonial military salutes on horseback. That role has now been handed to her son and heir, Prince Charles, who represented his mother at this Jubilee Trooping of the Colour parade. Queens may not retire, but apparently they do gradually fade away. The royal clock ticks on. She is, in many ways, she is a sort of national timepiece.
Robert Hardman's latest book on the royals is Queen of Our Times. Is her aging in a way, the way we kind of measure history. There's a sort of timelessness to the Queen. I mean, she's, she obviously looks different.
The fashions are different. She's a young woman at the time of her coronation and now she's the world's oldest head of state, but there is still a sort of timelessness to that aura. The Queen, claiming she had been in some discomfort on the first day of the Jubilee on Thursday, stayed away from the big service at St Paul's Cathedral on Friday. Her absence making this Jubilee even more poignant. Again, Charles was there on her behalf with the future Queen Camilla and William, the next in line, with Kate. And perhaps stealing the headlines, Harry and Meghan. The couple now estranged from the family and in self-imposed exile in California were allowed this cameo in the Jubilee show. Their leaving of royal life clouded in acumen, their leaving of royal life clouded in accusations of racism against Meghan at the palace had been brutal and cold.
Their brief return showed no evidence of any warming. But this Jubilee was about the Queen and overcame the chill, helped perhaps by her participation in the lighting of a series of celebratory beacon fires around the country and around the world. The Queen has just been superb at her job. And I don't say that just because I'm a patriotic Brit.
Robert Lacey has written numerous royal biographies. She's more than the Queen of the United Kingdom. She's been described as kind of Queen of the world. If America had a Queen, it would pick her, is the kind of general assumption.
How's she managed to do that? The Queen's favourite hobby is her race horses. And if you talk to the people in horse racing, which is a pretty cutthroat sport, they have enormous respect for the way in which the Queen breeds her horses, trains her horses, and gets results. Now she's brought that same steeliness and expertise to her job as Queen.
However she's done it, it's worked. And not just for the thousands of patriotic Brits who turned out for these events. Among the appreciative crowds, Donna Werner and I'm from New Fairfield, Connecticut. Now coming from the US, a country that went to some special effort to get rid of this monarchy, what's brought you back to it?
We don't have anything like this in the States. I mean look at the pomp and the circumstance. I mean, you know, nobody does anything up like this. But this jubilee was also an excuse for a party, thousands of them, and just in time. We've all been locked away for two years, to dance and to sing and to eat together. It's really important.
It's perfect timing actually. There are different ways of looking at this jubilee. It's a harkening back to an imagined romantic age of princes and princesses. It's an exercise in nostalgia with prancing horses and marching rows in toy soldier uniforms.
It's an affectionate tribute to a hereditary monarch who was hung around, done her job, and somehow embodied the national spirit. It's all of those things. Believe it or not, the fighting in Ukraine is well into its third month, with no end in sight.
David Martin has a Sunday Journal. The battle for Ukraine has turned into a slugfest of dueling artillery. It's not the lightning-quick takedown Vladimir Putin intended, but former CIA director David Petraeus says there's no denying Russian progress. They have made grinding, costly, but substantial gains. They now control at least 20 percent of the country, if you include the areas, of course, that they took control of.
Back in 2014, a swath of territory that would look like this if it were in the United States, stretching from Orlando to North Carolina. How do you think Vladimir Putin feels about the first hundred days? I'm not sure that he would look in the mirror and say, you know, this hasn't gone at all well.
He would regard this as very much a work in progress. If Russian forces are nowhere near as good as we thought they would be, are they still just good enough? They are plastering the areas where they find Ukrainian resistance.
But that can only go on so long, because they're also taking very, very high, high losses. By some estimates, they have lost 15,000 killed and 1,000 tanks. The Ukrainians, too, are suffering losses, and they're still killed in 1,000 tanks. The Ukrainians, too, are suffering losses, 60 to 100 soldiers killed each day. But their equipment is being replenished by the U.S. and other Western countries.
108 howitzers with a range up to 20 miles, four rocket systems which can fire salvos out to 40 miles. Is the U.S. giving Ukraine enough to just hold the line, or are they giving them enough to actually take back lost territory? I think that we and the other countries are giving Ukraine enough to take back lost territory, but again, that does remain to be seen. New equipment is not much use unless the Ukrainians can effectively employ it in combat.
The U.S. has sent thousands of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, but when American veteran Mark Hayward arrived at the front in March as a volunteer, he found they were useless. They couldn't even turn the things on to tell whether they worked. There were not enough batteries to power them. Because they didn't have batteries, you can't do anything other than put this darn thing in your arms room and wait for, well, if the tanks come at us again, we'll pull it out and hope it works.
Using parts from broken computers, they designed a way to power the Javelins with motorcycle batteries. It had a strong air of, we're making this up as we go along. And you're making it up while the Russians are two kilometers away? No sir, we were making it up while the Russians were 1.6 kilometers away. The Javelins came out of storage and 96 hours later the Ukrainians recorded their first Russian tank kill. The Ukrainians have now gone on the offensive, both in the south against the Russian-held city of Herson and in the north outside Kharkiv. Petraeus says it's an attempt to outflank the Russians. If they can get through that and get into the soft spot of the Russian defenses, then it's very possible that they could just keep on going. I personally think that it is a foregone conclusion that the Ukrainian military will beat the Russian military.
And when they finally retake those pieces of Ukraine that are currently occupied, they're going to find nothing left. Hearings into January 6th events at the Capitol take center stage in Washington this week. Robert Costa this morning is in conversation with the House Committee's Vice Chairwoman, Congresswoman Liz Cheney. Looking at our nation's capital this past week, it's almost easy to forget what took place here 17 months ago. This Thursday night, the House Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection will hold its first public hearing in nearly a year, asking us to relive and reckon with a day that some would rather have us forget. Congresswoman, are you confident that what you have found as a committee will somehow grab the American people by the lapels and say, wake up, you have to pay attention?
I am. You know, the threat, and it's an ongoing threat. You know, we are not in a situation where former President Trump has expressed any sense of remorse about what happened.
We are, in fact, in a situation where he continues to use even more extreme language, frankly, than the language that caused the attack. And so people must pay attention. People must watch and they must understand how easily our democratic system can unravel if we don't defend it.
The American people deserve the full and open testimony. As Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney sees it, defending democracy means holding former President Donald Trump and his allies to account for their efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. It also means standing apart from most of her fellow congressional Republicans. We have too many people now in the Republican Party who are not taking their responsibilities seriously and who have pledged their allegiance and loyalty to Donald Trump. I mean, it is fundamentally antithetical. It is contrary to everything conservatives believe to embrace a personality cult.
And yet that is what so many in my party are doing today. Is the Republican Party a personality cult? I think that large segments of it have certainly become that. A cult?
Yeah. I mean, I think there is absolutely a cult of personality around Donald Trump. And I think that, you know, the majority of Republicans across the country don't want to see our system unravel. They understand how important it is to protect and defend the Constitution.
Cheney is one of just two Republicans who have chosen to serve on the House's January 6 committee. Its members have interviewed more than a thousand witnesses, pored over tens of thousands of documents, and examined the private communications of top officials in the Trump White House, senior Republicans in Congress and far right organizers. Let me say it this way. I have not learned anything that has made me less concerned. But what's made you more concerned? Well, I think the extent, the expanse, how broad this multipronged effort was. Was it a conspiracy? I think certainly. I mean, look, if you you look at the court filings, you do believe it was a conspiracy? I do. It is extremely broad. It's extremely well organized.
It's really chilling. Cheney was once the number three Republican in the House. But a year ago, she was voted out of leadership for her criticism of Trump. She further angered minority leader Kevin McCarthy when she joined the January 6 committee.
McCarthy was recently issued a subpoena by the panel, but he has refused to testify, claiming the committee is illegitimate. What keeps Kevin McCarthy close to Trump? Fear or something else?
I think some of it is fear. I think it's also craven political calculation. I think that he has decided that, you know, the most important thing to him is to attempt to be speaker of the House. And therefore, he is embracing those in our party who are anti-Semitic. He is embracing those in our party who are white nationalists. He's lying about what happened on January 6th, and he's turned his back on the Constitution. Yet your colleagues continue to back him.
I've never seen anything like it before, and I think it reflects and represents the danger of this moment. McCarthy has publicly disputed Cheney's characterizations. Abandoned by GOP leaders and aggressively targeted by Trump, Cheney is now battling for re-election. And I'm asking for your vote because this is a fight we must win. The forces aligned against her include Wyoming Republican Chairman Frank Ethorne, who was on the Capitol grounds on January 6th.
Cheney says her fight is a proxy for a crisis in her party. Is this moment a moral test for the Republican Party? Absolutely.
No question. And right now, we're failing. You know, in my state, the state party chairman is a member of the Oath Keepers. He was here on January 6th.
He was here with a walkie-talkie in his hand on January 6th. That is a mortal threat, and it is a moral test. We can't fail that moral test, but there are too many right now in my party who are failing it.
Ethorne did not respond to her request for comment. While some Democrats have embraced Cheney's cause, the 55-year-old mother-of-five has conservative credentials she has forged over decades. She's against abortion rights, pro-fossil fuels, backed by supporters of gun rights, an unflinching hawk on foreign policy, and she voted with Trump some 90 percent of the time. And then there's her father, who was Wyoming's House member for a decade. As vice president, Dick Cheney was seen as so conservative and menacing to Democrats that some called him Darth Vader. And yet on January 6th of this year, Dick Cheney was one of the few Republicans to attend the House commemoration of the Capitol attack. You know, we sat down, and we were in the front row of the House chamber, and he looked behind him. We were on the Republican side. And he turned back to me, and he said, you know, it's one thing to sort of watch the news and to read about what's happened to our party.
He said it is really another thing to be here and to look and see all these empty seats and not see another Republican here. Cheney says she frequently seeks her father's counsel. And as she seeks inspiration, at this crossroads for the committee, she looks even further back into her family's history. I've thought a lot recently, especially about my great-great-grandfather, who fought in the Union Army in the Civil War. And I think about what he did. I think about what generations have done to hand to us this incredible jewel, this unbelievable blessing of this country.
And, you know, I am going to do everything possible that I can do to make sure that, you know, one irrational, dangerous former president doesn't destroy that. Is it a coincidence, Congresswoman, that you think a lot about the Civil War these days? We are thankfully not at a moment of civil war, but we are certainly at a time of testing. We are absolutely in a moment where we have to make a decision about whether we're going to put our love of this country above partisanship. And to me, there's just there's no gray area in that question.
And every American should be able to say we love our country more. This is The Takeout with Major Garrett. This week, Stephen Law, ally of Mitch McConnell and one of Washington's biggest midterm money men. List for me the two Senate races where you think Republicans have the best chance of taking a Democratic seat away. Nevada, New Hampshire. Not Georgia. Well, Georgia is right up there, but New Hampshire is a surprise.
In New Hampshire, people really just kind of don't like Maggie Hassan. For more from this week's conversation, follow The Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Now streaming exclusively on Paramount Plus. Steve Hartman this morning has a story with a happy ending. Years in the making. This feels like a long time. During the wait. Oh my goodness.
The torturous wait at airport arrivals. Baset Azizi made this empty vow. I'll try not to cry. But of course he would. How could he not? For the first time in his life, all his dreams were about to come true. We originally met Baset in 2016. He was living in Afghanistan and had recently sent a Facebook message across the world to David Bilger, trumpet player for the Philadelphia Orchestra. Baset was looking for a mentor. It started off saying I'm the best trumpet player in Afghanistan because there are only two. And I was immediately taken by him. I said, OK, I got to read the rest of what he has to say.
Baset told him how the Taliban wanted Western music banned and the players punished. That's it. Did you feel like you were risking your safety? In some point, yes.
But you did it anyway. Yeah. So with that devotion and some help from David, Baset got into the prestigious Interlochen Center for the Arts, a high school in Michigan. From there, he went on to college in the US and even got an internship with a congressman. Baset so cherished his new American freedom. He once broke out his trumpet in a crowded airport just to honor a group of veterans he saw. That's the kind of kid he is. But he has also been a lonely kid. His entire family back in Afghanistan hadn't seen him in six years. They all fled after the fall of Kabul, but couldn't get to America until now. Last month, Baset's father, his mother and his three sisters joined him in Kansas City. His mom, Parwana, said it was a dream to see my son before dying. Baset's family arrived just in time to see him graduate from the University of Kansas with three degrees.
One day, Baset hopes to work for the State Department as an ambassador. But until then, he's perfectly happy with his humbler titles, brother and son. Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges is hard at work again with a newfound appreciation for life. Ben Mankiewicz has our Sunday profile. This is our big scene, man. You know where your mark is? On a spring day in Santa Barbara, Jeff Bridges is having fun, turning a backyard into an acting studio with a woefully unprepared student.
At 72, Bridges is a star with a singular brightness. Seven times an Oscar nominee, winning Best Actor for Crazy Heart, he's a leading man with the soul of a character actor. He can be a hero, a villain, a statesman, or a stoner. I think as a creative people, I think as artists, our task is to get hooked. I love getting hooked when I do.
Getting hooked is easy when the bug is in your blood. Born to actors Lloyd Bridges and Dorothy Simpson, his mom knew how to get a good performance out of him right from the get-go, at less than a year old, in a 1951 drama, The Company She Keeps. And Jane Greer is holding me, and I'm a happy baby, I'm smiling at her, and I'm supposed to cry in the scene. And Jane says, I don't want the baby to cry. And my mom says, just pinch him, just pinch his foot a little bit.
And I started to cry. Eight years later, Bridges shared the small screen with his dad in the hit CBS TV series Sea Hunt, a lesson then guides him today. I can remember sitting me on his bed and teaching me all the basics.
Don't just say your lines because you're, you know, listen to what I'm saying and react off that, you know. Another acting role model was in the next room, his brother Bo Bridges, older by eight years. Boulder, too. Bo came up with a great idea. We rented a flatbed truck, and we pulled into a supermarket, and our father taught us how to stage fight. People would gather around, try to break us up, and then we'd go, no, it's a show!
Hey, we go to Mexico. Get back sometime Monday. Jeff's breakout film came in 1971, The Last Picture Show. Big studio offers followed, including Thunderbolt and Lightfoot opposite Clint Eastwood. Bridges, amazingly, told director Michael Cimino he wasn't right for the part. I don't know why you hired me, man. I'm really, I'm not this guy. He said, Jeff, Jeff, Jeff, you know the game Tag? I said, yeah, yeah, yeah.
He said, you're it. He's been it ever since in Against All Odds, Starman, Jagged Edge, Iron Man, True Grit, Hell or High Water, and, of course, The Big Lebowski. It's such a good movie. I mean, it's so well written.
You know, that's just like your opinion, man. And executed from all the, you know, it's so wonderful when that happens. If it seems Jeff Bridges leads a charmed life, consider the devastating one-two punch thrown at him during the pandemic. You've had a couple of years. Yeah, been away for a while with the cancer and the COVID and the whole thing, you know. The whole thing he's talking about began when he went to see a doctor after experiencing some pain.
I better get this checked out and I go in and get a CAT scan and find out I have a nine by 12 inch mass in my stomach. You know, lymphoma. A cancer diagnosis was blow number one. Number two came when Bridges and his wife Susan tested positive for COVID-19. Susan spent five days in the hospital.
Jeff, five weeks. Oh, man, what a journey. What happened? Well, couldn't breathe. And it's an amazing pain for not being able to breathe.
You have moments where you think, well, this might be it. Oh, the doctors. Yeah, my wife would ask, is he going to die? And they say, we're doing the best we can.
You know, they wouldn't reassure that it was all going to be fine. My doctors were saying, Jeff, you've got to fight, man. You're not fighting. You've got to fight. And I said, what are you talking about, man? I'm in surrender mode, man. I mean, we're all going to die, man. Come on. We're all going to get sick, you know, and die.
And your friends are going to die. That's part of it. I imagine you thought about your family a bunch. Oh, yeah. Dealing with problems. What's right in front of you? And those turned out to be, well, that's life. That's the way, you know.
That's what's in front of me. And isn't it beautiful? This was particularly beautiful. Bridges made a pledge to dance with his daughter at her wedding. When I started getting better, my goal was walking Haley down the wedding aisle. You know, I'd get to walk her down, but I'd do a little wedding dance, and it was really, really terrific. His cancer now in remission, Jeff credits his wife Susan, giving him the resolve to stay strong.
I was going to say 45. Typical Hollywood marriage. So wonderful. Oh, man. Where did you meet her?
In Montana, making a movie. I have a photograph of the first words that I ever said to my wife, and the first words she said to me. Will you go out with me? No. And click.
The guy took the picture. It's my prized possession. Hello? Hey, kid, it's me.
They found me. He's back at work, too, on a TV series starring in The Old Man on FX. It's a richly drawn character the former CIA operative pulled back in. He's a guy who's getting along in age. He's not sure about his sanity and his past. Well, let's say it's interesting. 2022 is shaping up as a much better year for Jeff Bridges.
He's got a new role and a fresh perspective. During my illness, we so often say, that's not really what I wanted. I wanted more of this. But just being alive, seeing, hearing, feeling, touching. If COVID taught us anything, it's taught us that we're all in this together, man. We're all connected.
And to feel that connection in the form of love coming at you, that's something else. You say you're in the mood for a little ice cream? David Pogue may be able to help, may be able to help. You'll have no trouble buying burgers at McDonald's, but ice cream is another story. Hi, welcome to McDonald's. How can I help you? Can I just get an ice cream cone? I'm sorry, we actually don't have any ice cream. Okay, thanks a lot.
You're welcome. Okay, go back. So how many McDonald's ice cream machines would you guess are broken right now? Two percent? Four percent?
This past week, 19 percent of them were down in San Diego, 28 percent in New York City. That's according to McBroken.com, a website designed to track the machines in real time. Broken McDonald's ice cream machines have become a national punchline. I feel like they should just make the machine one of their mascots. You know, just be like, hi kids, I'm McFlurry, the ice cream machine that's too sick to work.
McDonald's says that rumors of their breakdowns are greatly exaggerated, but even they have poked fun at the problem. In 2020, the company tweeted, we have a joke about our soft serve machine, but we're worried it won't work. For decades, Illinois-based Taylor was the exclusive supplier of soft serve and shake machines to McDonald's. This is very similar to the McDonald's ice cream machine they use in the U.S. Okay. Jeremy O'Sullivan got to know these machines in 2011 when he and his partner, Melissa Nelson, founded a line of frozen yogurt kiosks. They call the Taylor machines finicky and over-engineered. Okay, what about this? BRL greater than 41F after SL.
Just tell me what BRL means. Now, just because the machine is down doesn't mean it's actually broken. It might just be going through its mandatory daily four-hour pasteurizing sequence. And each step in that process has to be done and executed in a certain amount of time, or the whole thing fails and it needs to restart.
I come in in the morning and it would say what? Heat cycle fail. O'Sullivan even claims that the fragile design is intentional, so Taylor can rake in repair fees. A McDonald's employee is supposed to pick up the phone, ring ring, call a Taylor technician, hey, please come out. We really want to pay Taylor another $500 for repairs. Well, that may not be especially true. Taylor declined an on-camera interview, but said by email, Taylor does not make any money off of servicing its machines. All repairs to Taylor machines are handled by a network of independent distributors. Although that may not be completely true either.
Taylor charges those technicians for training costs, and about 25% of the company's revenue comes from selling replacement parts. What did you guys come up with that could help with this situation? We created Kitch, which is a little tiny computer that attaches to the front panel of the machine, and it decrypts very complicated messages that your typical employee may not understand. Oh, this is it right here. Exactly. So this would say HPR greater than 41 SL. What would the Kitch message say that's more helpful than that?
Maybe something as simple as like this. This hopper heated up because you left the lid off. The Kitch device also offers some remote control. This machine turns off, you're at home, Kitch lets you know.
From your phone, you could restart the machine? Absolutely. The founders say the Kitch add-on was a hit with McDonald's owners, and even got a thumbs-up from the head of the franchise owner's equipment team. And I really think that this device can reduce complexity in your restaurants and help drive cash flow by having our machines up. But unbeknownst to Kitch, Taylor had been developing its own similar device, and was studying the Kitch to mimic its features. One Taylor executive emailed, so how can we do the same thing Kitch is doing?
Then, in late 2020, McDonald's emailed the owners of all 13,000 franchises. It said, don't use Kitch. It essentially said that Kitch could cause serious human injury. How would that happen? Well, one, it's completely untrue. The memo suggested that the Kitch remote control feature could make the machine start running while someone was cleaning or maintaining it, endangering employees' fingers.
But that may not exactly be true either. All these dangerous parts that are inside the machine, when you remove the door, Kitch can't operate. Nothing can happen. The only danger that Kitch ever proposed was to Taylor's bottom line. After the McDonald's memo, business dried up and Kitch shut down.
The founders are now suing Taylor and McDonald's for millions of dollars. Reverse engineering is not illegal. I mean, it's dirty pool, but it's not illegal. There is a bunch of stuff in here that is super illegal.
You can't say something is dangerous when it's not dangerous. So it's mainly about false advertisement interfering with our business expectancy. McDonald's also declined an interview, but said by email that the Kitch device is unauthorized equipment, which Kitch never submitted to McDonald's for safety testing.
McDonald's calls the lawsuit meritless, and Taylor says it's built on false allegations. But until the lawsuits conclude, Taylor has put its own device on ice. So for now, we can all look forward to more moments like these. Wait!
The ice cream machine is always down! You know, I think there's an illusion that you just need to work really hard and build a great mousetrap and take it from people who built a better mousetrap and were naive enough to think, oh my gosh, they're going to love our solution. Not the case. Earlier, we told you about the upcoming January 6th hearings in Washington. Some thoughts about that from our John Dickerson. During the Civil War, President Lincoln was told construction on the Capitol dome could not continue for lack of funds.
He said it must. When people see the Capitol going on, it is a sign we intend the union shall go on. Both did, affirming the relationship between a temple of American democracy and the durability of that democracy. USA! USA!
USA! On January 6, 2021, rioters tried to stop the union as it had been going on by stopping what was going on inside the Capitol. The peaceful transfer of power that has been the hallmark of the union since its founding 246 years ago. This week, congressional hearings will examine that attack, but they will reveal more than just what happened in the past. The hearings will highlight what is happening right now, an ongoing struggle between two sets of habits that will determine how the union will go on into the future.
One set of habits is represented by the Capitol, that competing interests can be resolved through reason, and that when the people decide to transfer power, we affirm the system that allows it by gathering on the Capitol steps for the handover. The rioters brought other habits. The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government, which they did not like. Never before had the president, the most powerful person in American government, taken aim at a core feature of that government. The widespread bipartisan revulsion after January 6th should have banished the habits of the rioters and the president they say inspired them. But it has not. Polls show a majority of Republicans believe the 2020 election was stolen, despite legal decisions and election audits.
Donald Trump was not bounced from his party for breaking with his oath, but is promoted as its next nominee. The habits of American democracy withstood the challenge of January 6th, but will they withstand the next test? The response to the hearings will offer a clue. On one side will be those who keep with the habits and traditions that were threatened on January 6th. On the other will be those who respond by employing the habits of deception, diversion and dissembling, which led to the attack. Which side prevails will point towards how, and maybe whether, the union will go on into the future. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. Thank you.
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