INDICTED AND MORE
LIES WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES ENDANGER A NATION
It has finally happened. Trump has finally been indicted for criminal misconduct. After decades as an aggressive and unrepentant grifter, racist, and serial offender, Trump finally faces processes and procedures that may be beyond even his capacity to intimidate, manipulate and corrupt. So, in case you are wondering, I am thrilled. And yes, I take this personally. Everything that Trump represents and everything that his venal acolytes espouse are anathema to everything that I have believed in and fought for my entire life.
In a country where the criminal justice system is tasked with so much more than it is designed to do and funded to do, it can seem slow to act and too susceptible to manipulation by those with resources. Meanwhile, the poor, the disadvantaged, and Black and Brown miscreants get outsized law enforcement attention that generally results in negative outcomes.
So, take it seriously when an elected criminal prosecutor confronts evasion, threats, and the rigors of a long road ahead with an uncertain outcome to indict the rich and powerful, not to mention a former president of the United States. Further, the fraud indictment of Trump in New York is not trivial. The charges are serious and represent the first commitment to seek to impose a measure of criminal accountability on a dangerous and powerful man who has seemingly had his way with the justice system since the cradle
The New York indictment alleges thirty-four felony counts of fraudulently falsifying business records to conceal criminal conduct.* It is accompanied by a thirteen page statement of facts. The case is about fraudulent concealment from the public of critical negative information concerning two of Trump’s alleged adulterous sexual adventures and, most importantly, fraudulent concealment of this information in the critical days before Trump’s unexpected 2016 presidential victory.
Further, there seems to be a growing consensus that there will be more criminal indictments to come and that these indictments will focus on Trumps misconduct while in office or just after leaving office, not while seeking office. In this context, it is noteworthy that Trump was twice impeached for actions during his presidency without consequence, a backdrop that only adds to the clamor among progressives for a flood of indictments and associated perp walks.
To add to the excitement, Trump was just found personably liable for sexual abuse and defamation in a suit brought by a woman for sexually assaulting her years ago in a department store dressing room and then publicly lying about it.** That sure sounds a bit like the underlying notion in the New York indictment – get caught in a messy sexual encounter, and then lie about it to avoid accountability. The New York indictment adds criminal fraud and allegations of hush money payments to the mix.
All of this comes amid the steadily increasing fervor of support from the thirty percent or more on the far right of the already right-wing Republican Party who are fully committed to a Trump rerun. This stunningly unprincipled patch of humanity seemingly will follow Trump anywhere, support his “vision” for America, and continually fail to get the message that their hero is incapable of sorting fact from fiction.
In today’s political climate, the Republican Party’s incapacity to set Trump adrift provides the best path to the best outcome for Democrats in the 2024 presidential election. Democrats can only hope that the true Trump believers will deliver to him the coveted 2024 Republican nomination for president or at the least remain so committed to Republican Party implosion that Trump will make it almost impossible for the resulting nominee to win.
While this is hardly a sure path to victory, it may well be the best hope going forward as long as the Biden/Harris ticket remains the only presently-viable option for the Democrats. So keep those indictments coming. While the New York indictment is an important and emphatic first attempt at imposing a measure of criminal liability and accountability on Trump, it is cautionary to note that for years Trump has gotten away with whatever criminal misconduct seemed to underpin so much of his successful lifelong grift. Maybe one day soon, in some jurisdiction, we will get a real mug shot and a set of cuffs.
To be sure, there is more to this than my antipathy and that of others toward Trump and his cronies. Rather, it is a deep conviction that if our institutions fail us now, America is headed into an abyss from which it will be very difficult to emerge. So, stopping Trump, his acolytes, his supporters, his donors, and the racist Christian right from realizing their ambitious plan for transforming the nation in their image has palpable immediacy now.
And it is not just Trump. The right-wing “aristocracy” has polluted all three of the branches of the US government with a crush of highly-educated, wealthy, interconnected, and morally bankrupt vermin seeking only the power to impose their will on the rest of us while playing by their own set of rules. Somehow Trump became, and continues to be, a convenient tool for undermining confidence in American institutions through unabashedly attacking historical fact and creating a threatening national tableau for those ignorant enough to buy into the notion of an existential threat to a way of life that never was.
It would be comforting to believe in cycles and in the someday emergence of new and enlightened interpretations of constitutional fundamentals that could help shape a safe, moral, diverse, and prosperous national future. Or, for the faithful, to believe that there is a god who has chosen this moment in time to screw around with America but will eventually turn his playful attention back to Nigeria or Pakistan. For my part, however, I don’t believe in inevitable cycles, or in the fundamental wisdom of a document written two hundred years ago, or in god.
Instead, I am trying to believe that the young people of this nation may get off their cellphones long enough to reshape the electorate to reflect an understanding that our collective conscience demands so much more than the dark and shallow version of America in which those young people now live. It is also possible that elements within the aging generation of which I am a part will recognize the tainted legacy we are leaving behind and use some of our time and resources to try to rearrange that balance sheet.
While I await the revolution of the young and a renewed commitment of the aged, I will take a moment to enjoy every Trump indictment and hope that each one makes the right-wing aristocracy and its racist and White Christian collaborators just a bit less sure of themselves as they worry that I am coming for their guns.