The Journal Gazette
Thursday, January 21, 2021 1:00 am

Banks vs. the facts

Newest newsletter littered with propaganda

Aaron Smith

Having just received Jim Banks' email newsletter, I see that his hope is to keep us “updated and informed on how issues in Washington may impact our region.”

How curious, then, that issues in Washington are apparently so distinct from those here, where there is an insidious, often-deadly virus circulating among his constituents; where the major hospitals in his district are at capacity accordingly; and where a large number of those the congressman represents are unemployed and in danger of foreclosure or eviction.

We have heard there has been an inauguration of a new chief executive in the nation, two weeks after an attack on our nation's capital; apparently, as per this mailing, these are not issues that affect us, either, as they are not mentioned.

Banks and his staff lead with a piece on fighting big tech censorship. Protecting our right to free speech is indeed very important, but it is an interesting topic at a time when our recently replaced chief executive has been impeached for effectively shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre. The helpful link to a discussion about the issue takes us to what is arguably the least of all credible sources, Breitbart.

The congressman's proud co-sponsorship of the so-called Save Democracy Act comes next, with the stated goal being “to prevent a repeat of 2020 elections.” “It's the duty of Congress to restore the public's trust,” he adds.

For the record, that vote has been cited as “the most secure in American history” by election officials, as reported by none other than Fox News on Nov. 12.

Still, Banks found it important to return to that august forum to share his views in an interview, in which he rails against Democrats, regardless of topic, with the helpful assistance of a sympathetic interviewer. I'm not sure the public's trust is aided by this particular behavior, especially after that supposedly tainted vote returned the congressman to office.

Next on our representative's list is his introduction of the Support Peaceful Protest Act and the Qualified Immunity Act. In both cases, these reactions to Black Lives Matter protests seem empty political gestures, rather than helpful legislation.

Those guilty of “violence, looting and vandalism” are already subject to substantial criminal sanctions; the addition of more penalties is not likely a deterrent. Regarding the latter bill, it is a sad, but true, circumstance that a small number of law enforcement personnel misbehave in the name of assumed power. The right of an affected citizen needs to be upheld when necessary.

The claim that “impeachment only divides America further,” which follows, is a moot point now. The House, despite our congressman's dissent, has made this clear. A representative who relies nearly exclusively on Breitbart and Fox News as source material (please note that I avoid the term “journalism” here) has little credibility, a dearth reinforced by his piece concerning “Charting Out a Vision for the New Congress,” in which he invokes the presence of Mike Pompeo (of late, apparently sabotaging the incoming administration's foreign policy prospects) and Tucker Carlson as “prominent thought leaders.”

I once had a professor who defined philosophy as “the art of thinking things through.” Real “thought” requires an exceedingly open mind, as real governance requires an exceedingly open heart.

Both are necessary to leadership, and are sadly not in evidence here, at a time when our people are grieving terrible loss, as the pandemic is spiking yet again, and when eviction and foreclosure threaten the real economy of northeast Indiana.

Aaron Smith is a Fort Wayne resident.

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