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What is fair?

Today is the anniversary of the death of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII. It’s common knowledge that she was accused of adultery with five men, including her brother, but that wasn’t the crime that sent her to the swordsman. She was found guilty of treason because with some careless words to Henry Norris, the groom of the stool, she had “imagined the King’s death”. That’s what did her in. It’s a little like talking about assassinating the president. We don’t do it. But then, most of us are not as physically close to the president as Anne and Henry Norris were to the king. Sure, it was all in jest but the King was ready to discard her anyway. He only needed a reason. This was a good one.

Today is also the day that Congress started to vote on the bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection. About an hour ago, the House passed the bill for its creation. The Democrats were joined by 35 Republicans. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was not among them. Mitch McConnell doesn’t seem likely to vote for it either and it’s likely to fail in the senate because 60 votes will be needed to end the filibuster.

We don’t have to wonder why. This rogue version of the Republican Party is averse to being held accountable for anything. So, if they can’t be absolutely sure that the outcome will be exoneration for them, or even better, “a plague on both your houses”, they won’t go along with it.

It doesn’t matter if the composition of the panel is fair. It doesn’t matter that they agreed to the term of the bill 5 days ago or whenever it was. The point is, they can’t guarantee that they will come out of this unscathed in some way. Uncomfortable truths will come out. Maybe if it drags on long enough, the spell of the Big Lie will start to break ever so slightly. Whatever the case may be, subpoenaing some of the Republican leadership to testify in public about what really happened that day and what witnesses recall will make some of them look really bad and cowardly.

So, they’re going to do their best to squash it. Any kind of accountability is unacceptable.

I don’t know where I was going with the two cases of Anne Boleyn and the Republicans. In her final speech, she said,

I am come hither to die, according to law, for by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I come here only to die, and thus to yield myself humbly to the will of the King, my lord.

There were witnesses, many, to her treasonous words. She admitted that the law found her culpable. She yielded to it. As to the rest, look into it if you want. She wasn’t going to defend herself.

There is a quote by a former Mormon leader that goes:

“If we have truth, [it] cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not truth, it ought to be harmed.”

No one in Congress should be afraid of truth and transparency. But if they don’t have the truth, they ought to be “harmed” in some way. Those aren’t permanent seats in Congress and no one should insist on writing their own verdicts before a trial.

Yield to truth.

11 Responses

  1. It was so unfair. From what I have read, there is very little likelihood that Ann Boleyn ever committed adultery with anybody. She had no chance to vindicate herself. She was courageous in the face of her fixed fate.

    Would that we saw such courage on the part of Republicans. If they actually believed in heaven we might, bu I doubt that they do. Or they have convinced themselves that they are saving the country from the horrible Democrats, so that their task is to seek to defeat them by any means, including hiding the truth..I am afraid that if there had been multiple murders on that day, leading to Trump staying in power, they would have considered it a victory. Ann Boleyn was a much better person than any of these are

    • Hell, William, Caligula was a better person than most of them.

    • Like I said, she wasn’t executed for adultery, tho by the time the men were tried and convicted, she was going to be condemned for that anyway. Adultery wasn’t a capital offense. Treason was. That’s what actually got her killed. The story is that she was having what started out as a light hearted argument with some of her courtiers after she had teased and made fun of court musician Mark Smeaton. Anne was brought up and educated in the court of Margaret of Austria in Flanders where she was taught the art of courtly love. It’s kind of a dangerous game. It’s supposed to stay platonic but there are sexual overtones. Forbidden love and pining and all that stuff. Henry Norris really was in love with Anne and not in just a courtly way. If the king had died, he might have wanted to marry her. They may have had serious conversations privately. But there is no actual evidence that they had done anything above that. Anne’s problem is that she got too high and full of herself and didn’t realize until too late that her actual power flowed directly from the king and once she fell out of *his* favor, she was done for. But at the time this scene happened and her courtiers decided they had finally had enough of her shit, it was too late for her to stop herself. Anne was not a nice person. She probably didn’t sleep with anyone. But treason? Oh yeah. She did that with her words when she spoke aloud what she and Henry Norris had talked about in private. That’s why she was executed.

      • What a great scene! I saw “The Tudors,” and Anne came off better there. i will buy this series if it is available. it looks to have tried to be as true to the history as possible.

        Claire Foy is wonderful. I first saw her in a show called “Crossbones,’ done by Neil Cross, a tale of piracy. John Malkovich played Edward Teach, known as Blackbeard. There were other fine actors in it, but Claire stood out. i literally said, “She is really good!’ And sure enough, she became a leading star. “Crossbones’ unfortunately only got one season, even though it was so well written and acted, and i love pirate stories. One would think that a show with her, Malkovich, and Julian Sands would fare better.

        • Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy is fantastic. All three books are riveting.
          Wolf Hall the television series appeared on PBS a few years ago. It consisted of book 1, Wolf Hall and book 2, Bring Up the Bodies. It ends with Anne’s execution.
          The third book is called The Mirror and the Light. It’s much longer and covers the rise and fall of Cromwell himself.
          Highly recommended.

          • I saw the Wolf Hall episodes on PBS, they were excellent. I had read that they were waiting for Hilary Mantel to write the next book, before finishing the series! So now she has, and I hope that they produce it. I will buy the first book, and go from there.

      • At least according to Wikipedia, committing adultery with the King’s consort is high treason in Britain. This does not seem to cover the King’s consort committing adultery (i.e.,only the person committing adultery with her is guilty of treason, not the consort herself). This seems, well, unfair 😉

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