The Sweet, Healing Power of Justice
Chaos agents want their trumped-up storyline of outrage and political persecution to intimidate Americans. Let's not take the bait.
This could be a story about the chaos agents bent on exploiting a probable indictment of Donald Trump from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to fuel the anger and violence of their followers. That’s the narrative they hope dominates the public dialogue in the coming days.
That’s why Trump—reminiscent of his behavior leading up to Jan. 6—sought on Saturday to incite his followers to “PROTEST, TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK!” It’s also why Marjorie Taylor Greene was urging Republicans to “go scorched earth” and Speaker Kevin McCarthy was decrying the “outrageous abuse of power” and “political vengeance against President Trump” and promising to “immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy”—all this before any announcement on an indictment has even happened.
They are counting on intimidation and insecurity to strengthen their hand. They are pushing the chimera of political persecution to their cultists and injustice to drive the media storyline. And they are trying their hardest to manipulate public opinion to come to Trump’s defense.
But we shouldn’t take the bait. I’m among those who doubts this will erupt into any major organized violence, especially in the tightly controlled environment of Manhattan. Note Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s email to his office employees, obtained by Politico: “We do not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York…Our law enforcement partners will ensure that any specific or credible threats against the office will be fully investigated and that the proper safeguards are in place so all 1,600 of us have a secure work environment.”
What a tragedy that such a message need be sent, especially since it was triggered by the unhinged former White House occupant who’s shown no respect for the rule of law and a deep craving for conflict and carnage.
But let’s be clear: This is a story about serving justice and repairing our democracy. Either there’s rule of law or there’s not. Either we are defined by a system of justice that holds the guilty accountable or we aren’t. Either we have a democracy that limits the use of violence to define our public life and the rights of our citizens or we have a country devolving into authoritarianism in which a strongman leader can employ fear and intimidation to get and keep power.
After the exhausting years of Trump—including over 30,000 documented lies, dozens of discernible criminal acts, and a near-daily effort to spur a climate of chaos and a growing appetite for hatred and carnage—this is a moment to declare: We will not be held hostage once again by a tyrannical minority or its leaders that are abusing their power to undermine democracy and democratic institutions, permanently break peoples’ belief in justice and the rule of law, and drive a deeper wedge between Americans with grievance and outrage.
As many of you suggested in our robust Saturday discussion (“How Will You React If Trump Is Indicted This Week?”), this is a time to celebrate that we may finally be seeing a lawless ex-president held criminally accountable. And, as despicable and narcissistically malignant as he may be, we can also celebrate and take pride in the fact that the U.S. system of justice provides him the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law. Anything less can lead to the feral violence of the vengeful demagogue bent on exploiting his power to deny this most basic tenet of justice and allow the hunger for retribution to spread and rule the body politic.
We know that’s the world Trump desires—he the ever-persecuted victim. He said it explicitly in his ugly appeal to his sordid base who feel “wronged and betrayed,” as he put it: “I am your warrior. I am your justice…I am your retribution.”
In Trump’s view of the future, think there’s a place for the presumption of innocence? You can be sure the future he seeks would be defined by the very idea they project onto their opponents—that is, the constant complaint of political persecution to falsely legitimize their pursuit of permanent power.
As we await the decision from Alvin Bragg over the hush money payments and possible related charges—as well as the indictment decisions of District Attorney Fani Willis in Fulton County, Georgia and Special Counsel Jack Smith and Attorney Merrick Garland—I leave you here with this narrative from last August 15, entitled “Grievance, Persecution and the Endless Excuse.”
This piece of writing seeks to detail the mentality that has for too long held too many of our fellow citizens in his rapturous trance. Read or re-read it not simply as a reminder, but as a catalyst for a deeper commitment to overcoming this terrible chapter in our nation’s history and returning to the belief in the sweet, healing power of justice and the truth.
Grievance, Persecution and the Endless Excuse: Don’t blame Trump. It’s never him. He’s perfect.
Poor Donald. It’s the deep state. It’s Antifa. It’s racist prosecutors. It’s Robert Mueller. It’s a witch hunt, a hoax, fake news. It’s Democrats and RINOs and now the FBI. It’s always someone else’s fault, always unfair, always rigged. The call was perfect. The document was planted. The election was stolen.
He is—he always is—a target of political persecution. It was a raid. It was unannounced. It was an attack by Radical Left Democrats. It was an army of agents. It was a weaponized Justice Department, and his beautiful Florida home was under siege, occupied, an example of prosecutorial misconduct that only takes place in broken, corrupt Third World countries. They even broke into his safe!
And what about Barack Obama and his 30 million documents? What about Hillary’s emails? What about Hunter Biden’s laptop? It’s always Russia Russia Russia. Joe Biden is so old.
It’s only me because I am the 45th president (he would say). They see my dominance. They don’t want me to run in 2024. Have you seen the great polls? I never do anything wrong. They’re always out to get me. I am the most vilified president in American history. And do you remember who is the enemy of the people?
I released the warrant unredacted so you can see the names of the federal agents. I provided transparency. It’s not my fault if they now need security and the death threats are piling up. That guy killed after firing on the FBI field office? Don’t blame me. Didn’t I tell you this is a dark stain on the nation? My people—I love them, they’re special—they are not going to take it anymore. If we just stand by, if we don’t fight, if we are weak, we’re not going to have a country anymore. America first. The lawlessness must be exposed. It will be wild.
I took the documents because I was doing homework. I declassified everything. I gave them all back months ago. I didn’t do anything wrong. We need a wall. They’re rapists and criminals. They’re vermin. There are caravans of them. Ban those books. Stop teaching slavery. They want you to feel guilty for being white. Our phone calls are perfect. Brad just needed to find more votes. We didn’t lose this election. In fact, we won it.
MBS, I saved his ass. What’s one dead journalist when we got billions selling the Saudis weapons? They love my golf courses. They gave Jared $2 billion to invest. No one has ever gotten to the bottom of 9/11. Putin is a killer? You know, we’re not so innocent. And he said he didn’t do anything wrong. I believe him. He’s not weak like Barack Hussein Obama and Joe Biden.
Bill Barr is my guy until he isn’t. I love the generals until they don’t do what I want. You take the 5th when you’re not so innocent, until I do it over 440 times because radical, vicious, racist prosecutors are out to get me and I have no choice. Cassidy Hutchinson? Did she bring the coffee? Never heard of her. Mar-a-Lago is the winter White House with the best breakfast buffet. The election was stolen. I am the 45th president. I am immune. If the president does it, it’s legal. This is our country and we’re not going to take it anymore.
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I watched with amusement all weekend long, as the outraged Trump cult stomped their feet, threatened, sputtered their outrage. Naturally MTG was there with more ridiculous threats. "Scorched earth"? A Military strategy? THIS TIME around, should these Anti American, Anti Democracy folks want to use violent actions, I believe the police and authorities will be given orders to use whatever force they have to, to stop it. The sad thing is, Trump knows very well what he has done to this country and has no remorse. And his family, I hope, are shaking in their own boots as to more cases coming that may involve their own indictments.
The "Poor Donald" section of today's America America is so powerful in the reminding us of all of the outrage we have felt for the past 7 years. When is enough enough? When do we as the other 65% of the population say STOP? When do we reject the instability all of this causes in our country? The United States is in a civil war now. How do we end this? Do we go to the streets with weapons and kill one another? Or do we go to the ballot box and finally rid ourselves of this cancer that has seeped into our everyday life? I suggest the latter. The GOP and Tea Party successfully took over our country in 2010 in the voting booth. We the majority can and should do the same in 2023 and 2024.