It is unfortunate but also perhaps inevitable that politicians quickly forget that politics is about the people and not about them. Perhaps that is why our elected officials and those they appoint to various positions quickly lose sight of their duty to the electorate. No government, in the entire history of human civilization, has acted on purely altruistic motives. But the worst form of government is that which prioritizes its survival above all other considerations and, to that end, criminalizes its political opponents. The Jan. 6 investigation, with its manifold arrests and, now, the Trump indictment should have made the former president and his supporters acutely aware of the danger of such a government.
For those willing to suspend their political biases and their personal feelings about the 45th president, it is hardly debatable that his indictment is entirely political. Even the most zealous Trump-hating progressive, were he or she to be completely honest, would acknowledge this to be true. They might still willingly disregard that knowledge in their eagerness to see Trump convicted of something – anything – of course.
The most dangerous threat to the United States, then, is not China or Russia or white supremacy or transgender ideology or so-called “woke” culture. The greatest threat is the willingness of Americans on one side of the political divide to sanction – and celebrate – the use of the legal system as a weapon wielded against those on the other.
What the Trump Indictment Says About America
It is easy to speculate about how Trump’s indictment might influence the 2024 Republican primaries and the presidential election. However, politics are about people, not elections. The more important question, then, is how it affects the very conscience of America as a free constitutional republic.
Is this now a country in which justice is a privilege only afforded to those who conform to a government-approved ideology or is it not? Is guilt or innocence determined by one’s political opinions? Do any of us have the moral or legal right to determine that a person is guilty of a crime simply because we disapprove of that person’s worldview or beliefs?
If we were discussing a crime of violence or even larceny, with irrefutable evidence, it might be far easier to pass judgment. The Donald Trump indictment, though, concerns a financial transaction completed, allegedly, to influence the outcome of an election and, possibly, an irregularity in the reporting of campaign finances. Neither of these supposed crimes can be proven without an arbitrary interpretation of intent. Still, Trump’s critics have already passed judgment. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) even claimed – in an obscene inversion of traditional jurisprudence – that Trump must prove his innocence to avoid a conviction.
Let He Who is Without Sin…
It has now been established, through extensive investigation, that Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign paid for the so-called Steele dossier, provided to the media and the FBI for the sole purpose of swaying the 2016 election. The Clinton campaign listed payments to the law firm Perkins Coie, the firm that paid the author of the dossier (through another company), as legal expenses. Is it a crime to buy opposition research? It is not; just as it is no crime to pay someone to keep knowledge of something to themselves. Falsifying a campaign’s financial records is illegal. Both the Trump and Clinton campaigns may have done exactly that. Neither Clinton nor any member of her team was indicted for it.
Listing current or former members of Congress who have been caught violating campaign finance laws would be a formidable task. So, it is entirely reasonable to accuse Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg of pursuing a case on which neither he nor any other DA would have wasted their time were the suspected transgressor anyone else but Trump.
Discarding Tradition for Political Gain
Yet, a substantial percentage of people on the left are celebrating the news of the Trump indictment while giving no thought to the consequences for future ex-presidents. Joe Biden might well find himself the subject of one or more criminal investigations if he is succeeded by a Republican. The sanctity of the office will be greatly diminished. Quite possibly, people who might have made great future presidents will be deterred from running, lest they be hounded by politically motivated prosecutors after their time in office is over. It should be considered, after all, that Bragg’s case isn’t just about trying to scuttle Trump’s 2024 campaign; it is just as much about revenge, pure and simple. Trump is the man who snatched the presidency from Clinton – thereby dashing the hopes and assumptions of so many on the left. They have never forgiven him for that.
Another long tradition of American politics is also now being cast aside. For better or worse, presidential candidates are typically not dragged through the courts during a campaign. Trump’s alleged campaign finance law violations could and should have been dealt with before now. Indeed, they were. Bragg’s predecessor and the Federal Election Commission threw out cases against the former president – as did Bragg himself, in 2022. Democrats never forgave former FBI Director James Comey for publicly admitting, during the 2016 presidential campaign, that Clinton was the subject of an investigation. They claimed, and still do, that the revelation may have influenced the election. Many left-wingers still contend that it cost Clinton the White House.
Hunter Biden’s financial scandals – which have conveniently now been completely overshadowed by the Trump indictment – were kept under wraps by the White House in the runup to the 2022 midterm elections.
But, now, it seems that taking legal action against a presidential candidate, thereby significantly influencing an upcoming election, is perfectly acceptable.
When all is said and done, the American voter is, in large part, culpable in all of this – as are those Americans who don’t vote at all. Theodore Roosevelt said, “A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.” Both Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson are credited with saying, “People get the government they deserve.” The nation has willingly brought about a situation whereby nothing is sacred when the goal is the destruction of a political opponent. This is now the only goal that matters. Every possible method of achieving it is on the table, including censorship, intimidation, prosecution, and, sadly, even violence. We can complain all we want about this or that politician, but we put them there – and we allow them to remain there even as every principle, norm, tradition, and institution crumbles.
All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Liberty Nation.
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