4 min readJan 24, 2021

The Sneeze, Watercolor, 21" x 29", Richard J Van Wagoner, Circa 2005, Courtesy of Van Wagoner Family Trust**

This reminds me of when clients con-splain a legal strategy they learned from a cellmate or jailhouse lawyer. “If it worked so well for them, . . . by all means.”

Unity, the fractured GOP intimates, means setting aside the indisputable fact that a significant preponderance of voters made clear that four years of corruption, dishonesty, sycophancy, incompetence, unnecessary mass death and destruction, and the country’s degradation here and around the world, is quite enough. Unity, apparently, does not mean using the majority in Congress to carry out the policies and fulfill the promises to all Americans that gave Mr. Biden 7,058,909 more votes and 74 more electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election, kept the Democratic majority in the House and gained the slimmest of margins in the Senate. According to the GOP, uniting around their agenda, such as it is, is the only way to fulfill Mr. Biden’s exhortation.

And you mustn’t look to the past. How can we unify if the new administration applies the laws of the United States and holds to account Mr. Trump, his disciples, and those in Congress who sought to capitalize on his anti-democratic lies and nonsense out of pure political ambition? How can the country come together when Mr. Biden “declares war” during his first speech as President by denouncing “political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat”? After all, these extreme-ly good people are key to the GOP base. Mr. Biden’s insulting rhetoric could well push them across the finish line to Trump’s Patriot Party and extinguish whatever remains viabile from its dystopian landscape.

Nearly everyone who violates the law and is sorry — he was caught — seeks the least onerous road to forgiveness and reconciliation, shifts responsibility and, ultimately blames the abused. The GOP’s method for defining and seeking unity — a method that in no way resembles the concept on which Mr. Biden campaigned — is pure manipulation and further attempted abuse: If you do not give us what we want, if you apply the law equally, if you seek justice against and hold to account those who committed the serious crimes of attempting to overthrow the United States government, including their politically opportunistic aiders and abettors in the House and Senate, if you don’t share power with this defeated minority, if you refuse to rally around our agenda, we won’t work with you, and the country will remain divided.

It will be your fault.

Speaker Pelosi’s recent comment about declining to negotiate with terrorists comes to mind. Democrats, do not allow yourselves to be extorted. You hold power in the White House and both houses of Congress. Use it. Negotiate to the extent necessary to hold together your caucus, but you need not give in to extortion to unify. By their definition, it will never be enough. Results, more than anything else, will unify the country. Fix these disastrous messes the failed Trump administration left us.

By the way, what is left of the GOP?

I have studied and written extensively on the Republican Platform 2016, a 66-page monstrosity. I looked for but could not find one for 2020. We all know why. They have none. One faction, presumably still somewhat aligned with the GOP, considers anyone to the left — of them — devil worshipping, pedophilic, child sex trafficking, aborted fetus eating Antifaholes. They were convinced Trump would swoop in just before Mr. Biden’s swearing, arrest the lot of them, and head back to the White House where dear leader would continue his reign. When that didn’t happen . . . well . . . Trump works in mysterious ways. Some believe Mr. Biden’s face was surgically implanted on Mr. Trump — I sh!t you not — or that he is the marionette to a Biden puppet. Or some such. Another faction (GOP Ivy League elites, royalty and high society Federalists who know better), is attempting– with its full-throated support and votes in Congress –to exploit the millions who Trump hoodwinked into believing Mr. Biden stole the election. Yet another group played the “let’s just go along with and pacify Trump so he doesn’t tweet about us and we won’t appear divided” game a little too long. Then an attempted coup occurs and people are killed, and now they are asking Democrats to help them dig themselves out of a deep, dark hole.

Maybe the GOP is more multicultural than I thought.

*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 fall. 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.

**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.