In Henry Burnett, Set the Seditious Example for Rep. Hal Rogers
Congressman Hal Rogers of Somerset meet Congressman Henry Cornelius Burnett of Cadiz.
Burnett, a “southern rights” Democrat, joined the Confederates during the Civil War. Congress therefore expelled him for treason.
Rogers is Kentucky’s longest-serving lawmaker. He and a host of other Republican lawmakers voted in favor of Donald Trump’s attempt to hold on to power banana republic dictator-style by sabotaging the free and fair electoral vote that ultimately made Joe Biden the president.
For helping and encouraging Trump’s plan to convert the Constitution into a birdcage liner, they all deserve the same fate as the disgraced Burnett.
Oh, the West Kentuckian ached to see the rebels capture Washington and hoist a Confederate flag on the Capitol. Some of the Trumpian terrorists wrapped Confederate banners when they stormed and sacked the Capitol. (Neo-Nazis among them wore anti-Semitic clothing.)
Before the whites in the red MAGA caps raced for the Capitol steps, Trump encouraged the brown-shirted wannabes with a Munich brewery rant of a certain delusional mustached megalomaniac in the 1920s and 1930s.
Either way, someone should write a sequel to President John F. Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage”, name it “Profiles in Cowardice,” and fill it with true stories of arrogant political hacks and crooks like Rogers. . I suspect it would be at least twice as thick as JFK’s book, which was about some US senators who had the courage to risk political careers and the wrath of their constituents by elevating principle above the party.
Rogers’ cowardly genuflection didn’t go unnoticed at home. Linda Blackford of the Lexington Herald-Leader, snatched a brand new one from him. Joseph Gerth of Louisville Courier Journal also lit in Rogers, the only Kentucky lawmaker to vote to derail the electoral vote count.
Blackford didn’t think of Rogers for the Kentucky pol who “would cast his legacy to the winds and his face on the ‘wall of sedition.’ This is the useful graphic from the New York Times showing the 147 Republicans who voted to overturn the election results despite an attempted coup on the United States Capitol … instigated by the mad king President Trump.
Jabbed Gerth: “After the traitors tried to take over the Capitol, [Rogers] sided with them and voted to disenfranchise millions of Americans based on Trump’s fantasy stories of electoral fraud.
“He should be ashamed of himself. They all should.
Blackford and Gerth were easier on Rogers than the pro-Union Lexington Observer & Reporter and Louisville Journal were on Burnett. He was a frequent object of their disaffection.
The Journal suggested that because Burnett “brags and ravings like a heckle against the Lincoln government” he should fall back on Confederation “which the unanimous voice of the world considers the most tyrannical in the history of despotism.” Burnett was, after all, “admirably qualified for the position of Blackguard Extraordinary and Scullion Plenipotentiary at Jeff Davis’ court, for his brain is as weak as his lungs are strong and his mouth is as dirty as a skunk den.”
Blackford added: “The mob violence was enough to change the minds of several lawmakers, but not, it seems, Rogers. Then again, Rogers and his family have a lot to lose if he leaves Congress. Rogers is the child star of “the swamp,” the kind of political corruption Trump vowed to end but instead spread.
She concluded that Trump and his toads must all go if we are to “break the feverish dream of alternative facts [and] show people that there are consequences to promoting them … Hal Rogers is a small piece of this terrible movement that ended with a crowd in the United States Capitol … But if we don’t let’s not stop now, it will happen again too soon. “
If more Republicans had posted profiles of courage, this would never have happened in the first place.
Berry Craig III is a longtime Mayfield author, historian, freelance journalist and labor activist.