The long-awaited indictment of Failed Steak and Bottled Water Salesman Donald Trump is here. Of course, it is making big news, what with The Donald’s other Failed Former Occupation, President of the United States.
You might have heard that there has never been a former president indicted in a criminal case.
I will leave the legal eagle dealings to Adrastros, who has begun all that with a kickoff post last night, because I live by the Taoist saying “know what you know, don’t know what you don’t know” and I really do not know a whole lot about legal dealings and lawyerings. A lot of people think they do and end up like Charlie in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia:
So I will not really speculate on What This All Means Legally and participate in endless guessing about what is in the sealed indictment. That’s for MSNBC to do over and over and over and over again until Tuesday when the indictment is unsealed. But I have been thinking about other aspects of this entire situation ever since it was announced.
One is the hand-wringing among some in our punditry about the indictment. I have two examples here, one from Joshua Green from Bloomberg and one from Peter Baker from the New York Times. They involve the usual frets, about division and “what this might do to democracy.”
I’m with Michael Hobbes:
I feel like the actual "test of democracy" was having a president who committed crimes constantly?https://t.co/BB7LWkzYYs pic.twitter.com/HWkzNZHYDv
— Michael Hobbes (@RottenInDenmark) March 31, 2023
I have to ask Mr. Baker, given your stance that presidents commit crimes all the time, what are some examples? I do not doubt him, but 1) is this something that should be stopped and 2) why would this be a reason not to indict Trump?
I will put forth that such handwringing in the past is why we are here. The fretting about indicting and putting Nixon on trial, thinking it would tear the country apart, was one of the first steps to where we are. Then, there was a scandal even worse for our Constitutional ideals than Watergate, Iran-Contra. I agree with Charlie Pierce, who wrote in 2011 that crushing the investigation into this terrible scandal was a lost opportunity to put an end to a political climate where the powerful can count on a lack of accountability. I mean, if you learn what went on during that time (Pierce does a fine job of sharing the details) then there really is no way you can be a person of conscience and a believer in the rule of law in a constitutional democracy and think that George H.W. Bush should have been allowed to be president.
The excuse then was that we the people were sensitive flowers who would lose all hope if we learned the truth, so the powers that be further infantilized a constitutional democracy. This idea that we are all snowflakes and cannot handle even the least bit of bad news about our leaders is not only damaging but applied in rather subjective ways. As Pierce points out, Whitewater was a big nothingburger and that dragged on for quite a long time.
But I believe that idea is at best a gross misreading of the American public in general and at worst an escape hatch from accountability for the powerful. This idea that indicting Trump is so dangerous and grim for our gentle national psyche is nonsense. I would argue the opposite is true, that this indictment gives people, at least those who truly want us to be a Constitutional democracy, a lot of hope. There was plenty of happiness policing to be had last night and this morning, scolding people who were happy about the indictment news. This in turn reminded me of the people who tsk-tsked the cheer that went up outside the Centre County, Pennsylvania courthouse when former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of child rape and sentenced to prison. People thirst for justice and are dismayed when the powerful escape it, which happens too often. So when justice is served, there is rejoicing because it returns faith to the system.
So indicting Trump and potentially prosecuting him will not “tear the country apart.” We cannot let powerful people do as they want out of some obscure fear of “harming democracy” or because their supporters might get angry and violent. The latter is what the Mafia does, use threats to enable them to have free rein over our laws. People were both skeptical about an indictment and scared about an indictment not happening because there was good reason to; plenty of examples in our recent history of accountability being for the little people.
Such fussiness and brow-furrowing by the likes of Baker and Green is a large part of how we got to this point. It has to end. Otherwise, the people who want to have faith in America as a land where truly no one is above the law really will lose hope, and that would actually be a huge problem for our country.
And given that many of the same people crying for the fainting couch over the Trump indictment also have demonstrated in the past that they have little problem with police killing people without any due process, perhaps they should just pretend Trump is a Black man accused of selling cigarettes.
The last word goes to what could be Donnie Trump’s theme song.
One thought on “An Indictment For The People”
I hear that the Jeffrey Epstein jail suite is vacant and available for Trump to hang out in as long as needed.
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