Donald Trump, Conspirator in Chief
Bennie Thompson's introductory remarks made it clear that the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol believes the former president is a crook
It was nice to see some of you on Twitter last night during the hearings: you can read the full transcript of the hearing here. If you have friends who might like to join us as we follow the investigation of the attempted coup on January 6, 2021, please
When Democratic committee chair Bennie Thompson (MS-2) opened the televised hearings of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol, he introduced himself by reminding us that he comes from one of the most violent states in the Union. He also comes from one of the most dishonest states in the Union. “I’m from a part of the country where people justify the actions of slavery, Ku Klux Klan, and lynching,” Thompson said. “I’m reminded of that dark history as I hear voices today try and justify the actions of the insurrectionists of January 6, 2021.”
Mississippians want us all to forget that history, but Thompson doesn’t. He comes from a Delta town named Bolton in Hinds County, a town of slightly more than 500 people, about three-quarters of whom are Black. It’s the only majority Black district in the state. Yet Thompson is only the second Black person to represent MI-2 in Congress: the first was his predecessor, Mike Espy, who was elected in 1986.
Yes, we are talking about that Mississippi, which delivered 57% of its votes to Donald Trump. Drive 90 minutes north, and you will get to Winona. There—59 years ago today—Fannie Lou Hamer and other civil rights activists were beaten by police within an inch of their lives for the crime of getting off their bus at a rest stop to buy lunch. Driving about the same distance to the northeast from Bolton will get you to Philadelphia. That was where—58 years ago this month—SNCC organizers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were arrested by police, murdered by Klansmen alerted by the same police officers, and buried in an earthen dam.
So, Bennie Thompson understands political violence. Born in 1948, he came of age in a violent place in which an autocratic, white supremacist state fought to prevent the realization of democracy by shutting Black Mississippians out of elections entirely. And they were very good at it. How good? Not until 23 years after the 1965 Voting Rights Act did this majority Black district elect a Black Congressman.
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