FROM THE LEFT
By Lance Simmens
The word “unprecedented” reflects the true depth of despair evident and growing as the American public, but more specifically the voting electorate, attempts to make sense out of the profound charges and countercharges facing the two major political parties as we enter the 2024 presidential election. As we wade deeper and deeper into the cesspool of our democratic system, our citizenry is being bombarded with investigations into alleged corruption that will land our most recent former president under the spotlight of four indictments and a current president facing partisan attacks that purport financial windfalls due to his involvement with a son who has conducted foreign representation that is either illegal or unethical.
Now only a hermit could feign either ignorance or disbelief that where significant sums of cash are involved, public policy, professional, and even familial connections can yield a wise investment. There are regulations and ethical and financial guardrails that seek to protect against corrupt nepotism; however, whether they are significantly strong enough to prevent bribery is something that must be looked at carefully and addressed. I am realistic enough and have witnessed the vast expansion of lobbyists in my lifetime to know that connections between monied interests and legislative, judicial, and administrative bodies are likely to continue to evade even the strictest of measures designed to prevent their abuse. However, that should not deter us from striving to fix flaws in our processes and systems and revert to the ideal that no one is above the rule of law!
What happens, however, if a significant proportion of the electorate loses faith, trust, and confidence in the established administrative, judicial, legislative, and executive structures that are responsible for formulating, implementing, and adhering to laws, rules, and regulations? Unfortunately, the gross existential division in today’s society demands we seriously address our deficiencies where accountability is both desired and required.
The most recent spate of indictments aimed directly at the former president looking to become the Republican Party nominee in next year’s election and the timing for their consideration by various courts will surely test the patience and will of the nation. Similarly, the recent decision to appoint a special counsel to conduct an open-ended investigation of the son of the current president and sure-to-be-nominated Democratic Party nominee has evoked cries of coverup and special treatment, even though the position previously carried forth by the Republican opposition demanded that the DOJ investigation was corrupted. Political gamesmanship belittles seriousness of purpose and leads to public disdain, all in the search for power.
In a more enlightened time, it is reasonable to assume that placing current U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who was appointed by former President Trump and carried over by the Biden administration in order to avoid attacks of political favoritism, might suffice to quell adolescent whining that a fast one was being pulled here. Trust, however, is in woefully short demand.
Unfortunately, incredibly, the degree to which the MAGA-led Republican House majority believes that major institutions that undergird our nation’s stability, such as the Department of Justice, and law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI and CIA, are politically warped and incapable of exercising judicial restraint and the very concept of justice itself. What makes the position proffered by the MAGATs so abundantly confounding is that they are not opposed to current structures as much as they are to the inability to control individual behavior that conforms to little more than unconditional adherence and allegiance to the authoritarian dictates and whims of their leader: Mr. Trump.
The proposition illustrated by this latest train wreck of a predicament runs the risk of dragging the nation and the confused and bewildered populace to throw their hands up in disgust and forego the only thing that will save us from ourselves: namely, the need to allow the system a chance to work and to vote.
I want to make absolutely sure that my position remains absolute: Namely, that we must all abide by the law and we must continue to strive to make our institutions more responsive to the notion that all must be treated fairly. It is certainly a dream, and we must seek to make the dream come true.
If Hunter Biden is guilty of breaking the law, and it is proven in a court of law by a jury of his peers, then he must be held accountable, and similarly if the same accords the president, then he too must face the music. It goes without saying that if the former president is found guilty he too must do the time.
Rather than bow to the unrealistic and sophomoric propositions advanced by some that blowing up democratic ideals in favor of blind adherence to autocratic leadership that demands loyalty rather than rationality, we must honor the oath to protect the Constitution. Therein lies our political salvation.