There’s a lot of cud-chewing going on in media and political circles these days about whether D.J. Trump should be charged with a crime. Any crime. Pick a crime.
One side of the argument is charging him - if evidence warrants - would bring violence in the streets and bloodshed. Militias, Proud Boys et al. would rise up and raise Holy Hell in the country. Maybe.
The other side of the conversation believes Trump deserves no better or no worse treatment and, if evidence is solid enough, he should face the music just as any other citizen would.
As citizens, we all “have a dog in this fight” which means we all need to pay attention. Based on my local itinerant conversations and eavesdropping, not everybody is. More folks should because, if there are actions in the streets, they’re gonna be involved, like it or not.
Nobody - even his supporters - can claim Trump has not done significant damage to this country already. The only discussion point can be just how much. It’s hard to imagine any part of civil society he’s not damaged in one way or the other. That’s just a fact.
Even if he soon “Exits, Stage Right,” it’ll take years to fix what’s broken and get things back to normal.
So the only real question on the table should be “Charge or not to charge?”
“We are a nation of laws,” the old saying goes. And, we’re told from birth, “no one is above the law.” I believe both statements. I’ve lived a life in accordance with those beliefs. So, it would seem, the answer is easy.
If the evidence is there - and I believe it is - charge him and try him. Let a jury of his peers sort it out.
Some people say “No American President has ever been charged with a crime.” That may be. It’s also NOT to say a couple of them shouldn’t have been, though they weren’t.
That argument doesn’t hold up. Yes, it would be precedent-setting. So what? Trump, himself, was a “precedent.” Guy with no elective office experience walks in off the street and BOOM - he’s a president.
Proponents of the “no charge” side of things also worry there’ll be violence in our streets if he’s arraigned. So?
This country has seen violence in our streets before. And, we’re still here. The union movement in the first half of the last century was filled with violence. And death. We also had soldiers in the streets and violence that brought them there during the Great Depression. Remember Pershing and the army charging through “Hooverville?”
I was wrapped up in violence in our streets during those anti-war demonstrations in Washington D.C. in the sixties. In similar, but smaller marches across the country, we had violence aplenty. National Guard killing unarmed students at Kent State. And, none of this speaks to those killed in Revolutionary times. Or our Civil War of the 1860's.
Violence - even death - in our streets is nothing new. We can be certain it will happen again - with or without Trump.
It seems the larger crime would be not to charge if the evidence warrants. What, then, happens to those precepts of this nation being one of laws and no one is exempt? Do we let the guilty walk, while saying to ourselves, “Well, not this time - maybe next time?”
None of us should be “asking” for violence. But, none of us should look the other way if violence there be. We’ve got police, national guard and the military if things get that bad. No one really wants violence. But, we are as well prepared for it as can be. If a bunch of militia folks want to take on all of the professionals, I say “Have at it.”
There’s also this reality. Juries and other legal bodies are reviewing evidence of Trump-linked crimes in three states, the District of Columbia, Congress and DOJ. One of those institutions - maybe more than one - will most certainly hand down some indictments. The only questions are what charges and where? It’s gonna happen.
Again, those who haven’t given this much thought really should. It’s an issue of being a citizen of this country that’s new. And, a bit frightening. The trial - one place or another - of a former U.S. President. Possibly a criminal trial. If found guilty, the imprisonment of a former U.S. President.
From all indications, Trump’s realizing the likelihood. The rest of us should, too.