4 min readMar 7, 2021

Untitled, Watercolor, 28” x 30”, Richard J Van Wagoner, Courtesy of Robert A. Bero**

A band of pirates, plunderers, oppositional saboteurs who create nothing but chaos have a singular agenda — to hijack the ship of state and loot its crown jewels. This is not only about January 6, which history will never forget, and we must never forgive. This also is about the Big Lie leading up to the failed attempt to overthrow the government with violence instigated by losers in an otherwise successful transition of power. It is about perpetuating the false narrative as justification to disenfranchise enough voters through local legislation that a shrinking minority can regain and hold power.

Every fair-minded person understands this.

What would they do if they grabbed power? Govern? Lead? Funny. They would count their booty and groove on the rubble (the latter a phrase my jurisprudence professor John Flynn used in his analysis of Critical Legal Studies).

Untitled, Watercolor, Richard J Van Wagoner, Courtesy of Van Wagoner Family Trust**

The piracy extends well beyond the Big Lie and January 6. At an unprecedented time of crisis for most individuals and families in the United States, the GOP set out to sabotage every remedy designed to reduce their suffering and improve their lives, despite significant bipartisan support for the measures. Their willingness first to cause, then to extend and increase, massive suffering is cynical political calculation: the extreme suffering — caused largely by the monstrous failures of the former guy and his administration — is merely incidental to the GOP’s success in causing more failures, but now on the Democrats’ watch. It is simple groundwork for future campaigns and elections in what, for now and the foreseeable future, is a rudderless, morally insolvent band of pirates.

Thankfully, the Senate passed the COVID relief package under reconciliation.

Parenthetically, Hawley and Cruz, I would wager, are praying to whatever thing it is they worship (outside themselves) that the former guy is indicted for any number of crimes — except, of course, the ones in which they played a central role. Hawley and Lee looked, and sounded, a little nervous during their questioning of FBI Director Wray this past week about cellphone metadata. As a criminal defense attorney, I wish my potential target clients had a platform to question their investigators, even as pretext.

If the former guy is forced to perp-walk the plank, Cruz and Hawley will exploit the opening in 2024 while taking a shiv to each other. That’s what pirates do.

Speaking of shivs, in the hands of pirates the filibuster is all about obstruction and nothing about unity or bipartisanship. The most urgent reason to disband the filibuster, even temporarily, is H.R. 1, the 2021 voting rights act. Accurately described as a “power grab” by minority leadership in both houses of congress, it would grab power for free and fair elections and away from a shrinking minority determined to inhibit certain classes of people from voting. It would grab power from those who rely on flagrant gerrymandering for their political fortunes. Yes, Mr. Carvin, by allowing people to vote and counting all votes cast, including those in favor of Democrats, Republicans would be at a “competitive disadvantage” in the zero-sum game. If you can’t win, except by cheating, isn’t it time to think outside the petrified wooden box to construct a platform that appeals to a broader demographic?

The following article explains the legislation’s provisions.

*My brother the very talented fiction writer and novelist, Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner, deserves considerable credit for offering both substantive and technical suggestions to and Rob’s second novel, a beautifully written suspense drama that takes place in Utah, Wyoming, and Norway, dropped on November17, 2020. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple Bookstore and your favorite local bookshop, this novel, The Contortionists, which Rob himself narrates for the audio version, is a psychological page-turner about a missing child in a predominantly Mormon community. I have read the novel and listened to the audio version twice. It is a literary masterpiece. The Contortionists, however, is not for the faint of heart.

**Richard J Van Wagoner is my father. His list of honors, awards and professional associations is extensive. He was Professor Emeritus (Painting and Drawing), Weber State University, having served three Appointments as Chair of the Department of Visual Arts there. He guest-lectured and instructed at many universities and juried numerous shows and exhibitions. He was invited to submit his work as part of many shows and exhibitions, and his work was exhibited in a number of traveling shows domestically and internationally. My daughter Angela Moore, a professional photographer, photographed more than 500 pieces of my father’s work. On behalf of the Van Wagoner Family Trust, she is in the process of compiling a collection of his art work. The photographs of my father’s art reproduced in and are hers




Exercising my right not to remain silent. Criminal defense and First Amendment attorney.