Living Large in Carson City: What’s a Liberal to do?

A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. Cicero

Okay, okay, okay . . . let me see if I have this straight. After six years of lies, grift, outright fraud, politically embarrassing moments at home and abroad, Donald Trump left the White House with a butt load of classified documents that have now been seized, and the man is still walking around freely? It is a telling sign that no one on either side of the political spectrum hasn’t come forth to say, “Hey, wait a minute. This guy should be in jail.” Alas, no one has the moral fortitude, it seems, to do that in today’s American clown car of a shit storm that passes for a normal day in the nation.  

Okay, granted, Trump’s past transgressions were over the top, but he is not being held responsible for many of his crimes, if not thrown into a deep dark hole any time soon. The renown “I grab ’em by the pussies” charmer extraordinaire has literally turned our democracy on its head, fomented an insurrection, talked crap ninety miles an hour about friend and foe, and it’s taken him absconding with boxes of classified material to be brought to heel by Merrick Garland – to achieve – what? And why now? For Christ’s sake, the man has two impeachment trials under his belt, a slew of sexual harassment suits by women he abused and has tried to grasp power from every source he encountered. Hell, he even had Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak (read: spy operatives) into the Oval Office early on in his tenure as president where he revealed top secret information about a proposed U.S. Islamic State operation while bad mouthing then director of the FBI, James Comey, who he had just fired. The man is a walking criminal enterprise even the most cruel and despotic Mafia boss would swoon over just thinking about the grift dripping off Trump’s orange bouffant.

There has been much talk about who helped him get the boxes packed, loaded, and shipped to Mar-a-Lago to simmer out of sight in some squalid little rathole. Who cares? Find out all involved and charge them with whatever broken laws will put them into jail for the longest duration of time. Let’s see Trump handcuffed and shackled then perp walked out of his golden bathroom and led to a squad car with a banner flying from the antenna “I broke the law and now I have to face the consequences”. For all of Garland’s “No man is above the law” rhetoric, I fear it will be a long time coming when something of this nature actually transpires.

While law enforcement is at it, why not crack down on Trump’s enablers in Congress. Actually, it is hard to know which Republicans are not up to their eyeballs in planning the insurrection and the ongoing coup attempt facing the nation at this moment. It would do no good at this point to engage in name calling, but I’ll do it anyway. The Jordan, Cruz, Loopy Louie, Trump Jr, Ivanka, Eric, and that little simp, Jared Kushner, are all implicated in the most egregious onslaught on the American experiment in democracy that has ever occurred. Whose great idea was it to allow people in public life to ignore subpoenas passed out by Congress, simply to circumvent legal responsibility for their actions? I don’t give a damn if they don’t agree with the subpoenas levied against them. In the real world where you and I live, ignore a lawfully handed down call to appear before a legitimate court or government committee, and BAM! our asses would be in jail. These idiots believe they are above the law and delight in making a mockery of our judicial system. To paraphrase a saying from the Orange One, “Lock ‘em up!”  

Several news pundits have come to the forgone conclusion that Trump is not a “literate” man and that (to put it kindly), not really interested in anything that doesn’t shine a golden light on him personally. Forget the kids. Forget the enablers. Forget Melania (or whatever her name is). If it doesn’t feed his huge narcissistic ego, it doesn’t matter. And all the time this wicked little scenario called Trump’s presidency is still unfolding; he is raking in millions of dollars off of a situation he created by breaking the law, and there is no end in sight. The idea he might run again for the presidency is frightening when one considers he might win. Let’s face it; Republicans and extreme conservatives have shown clearly they don’t respect the will of the people, the rule of law, but support questionable precedents set down by the Supreme Court that fly in the face of the Constitution and common sense. These people are playing hardball, and as a country, Americans need to face the harrowing truth that unless they are stood up to in a real and meaningful way, we are screwed as a nation.

There is little doubt Trump is guilty of a lot. The 500-pound gorilla in the room is whether the select committee and/or the Georgia grand jury findings in election tampering will end up in an indictment of the former president. While seeing Trump hauled into a courtroom to face his crimes and punishment, all of the hopes and dreams of justice may not matter in the end. There is a term called Public Peace that will surely be bandied about in the future when dealing with a Trump indictment. In this case the term means simply that there are issues that override commonly accepted judicial practices when it comes to preserving the peace between two rival factions on the national stage. This is especially true when one faction claims special interest in the outcome of the debate. For example, think of how the MAGA faction would react to having Trump face indictment, conviction, and possible incarceration for his crimes. Many Trump supporters are already bringing up the Civil War card if such events transpire. What would Joe Biden do to ensure the peace and stability of the union?

Harlan Ullman is senior adviser at Washington’s Atlantic Council. He addressed this possibility in an column recently titled “If Donald Trump were convicted, Joe Biden would have to consider a pardon”. It should be noted this is not the first time a president pardoned someone to preserve the Public Peace. The first time came at the end of the Whiskey Rebellion when two farmers were convicted and sentenced to hang for their their rebellious acts. Washington justified his decision to pardon the men citing the public peace demanded that tempers be cooled, and peace allowed to return. Ford pardoned Nixon to ensure public peace reigned. Bill Clinton got a slap on the wrist for his sexual escapades and was allowed to complete his term in office. Both Nixon and Clinton presumably where to withdraw from politics and keep a low profile. Of course, their actions over the years proved differently, but the Public Peace was secured at the flash point created by both men’s actions.

In his column Ulman suggests that most Americans do not realize just how incendiary the findings of the January 6 committee might be, and the impact that it will have on both sides of the political spectrum. The Democrats will want blood while the conservative supporters of the president (MAGA and others) will topple off of the already precarious ledge where they reside built on lies, white nationalism, whataboutism, and white privilege. The result will be a country in tinderbox mode waiting for the first errant spark to explode into chaos.

Obviously, the Public Peace will take a direct hit in the shorts and lay whimpering in the gutter where many on the right want it to be already. The old adage “Might makes Right” lies at the kernel of their thinking. It isn’t clear that the firebrands leading this movement have the ability to instill the same fervor into their followers, especially when bullets start flying and casualties start adding up. Make no mistake, there will be casualties should the Department of Justice and state courts indict and convict Trump and his minions. Of course, our democracy will not be able to withstand the proven lawlessness of Donald Trump if it goes unpunished. The question is will Biden decide in the name of Public Peace that a pardon is in order and allow Trump to go free to continue his crazy antics at the expense of democracy. Or will we have the inevitable reckoning that is required to sustain and protect the Republic against all enemies, foreign and domestic?

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