The walls are closing in on Donald Trump, 45th President of these United States of America, but, what few of his persecutors or prosecutors (depending on your perspective) realize is that this also shows that the walls are closing in on the very existence of our Union as a single country. As every day brings new setbacks for Trump’s legal defense, and as once staunch allies cover themselves by sacrificing him to the altars of Democrats in high dudgeon, the very substance of our Union weakens.
THIS IS NOT A COMMENTARY on Trump, on his guilt or innocence, or anything like that. It is an analysis of the potential impacts to the strength of our Union which follow the possible scenarios that may unfold.
Let’s cover the diverse perspectives.
You may think Trump is guilty and should be punished like anyone else would be. You may think he is guilty but also think his opponents are also coloring outside the legal lines and wonder why the law isn’t being equally applied. You may think Trump may have veered close to the legal line and didn’t cross it, but his opponents are using it against him while covering up their own actual crimes. You may think Trump is innocent, and this is a witch hunt, a totally political persecution, lawfare. Beyond these perspectives, there are shades in between as well, filled with nuance.
The legal question is “guilty or not guilty.”
If you think Trump is guilty and knows it, then you are frustrated he hasn’t just admitted it and backed out of his bid for a second term for the good of the country. What appalls you about your fellow citizens and divides you from them is how so many could be conned into following an obviously bad person.
If you think Trump is innocent, or not guilty, you look at the Biden administration and the bureaucrats in DC and wonder why they don’t, for the good of the country, disengage and disavow the lawfare and play ball fairly. What appalls you about your fellow citizens is how so many could be OK with such an obvious abuse of power knowing they can’t win on an even playing field.
Perhaps the truth doesn’t easily fit those two perspectives and perhaps one might ask a deeper question of both sides: how seriously are they taking the repercussions of their actions in light of the threat to our political fabric? When we see something like around 40% of Republicans and Democrats saying that force should be used against the other side we are hearing the klaxon of chaos and ruin approaching but nobody seems to notice or, if they do, care.
Not to be a Cassandra or make a prediction of the inevitability of our disUnion, but one must take such dangers seriously even if the probability is, say, only 10%, although it is probably higher than 10% at the moment. There are too many racial, religious, ideological, and economic conflicts between disparate groups of Americans, and now the Arab-Jewish conflict is coming to our shores! To even review in detail would be impossible without writing a book. Any one of these, saving perhaps the Arab-Jewish war that affects relatively few Americans (though it is quite dramatic, painful, and impactful to them!), could become explosive, and that explosion could cause an unintentional chain reaction.
The fact is that around 30% of Americans seem to love Trump, and among them, he has superstar almost godlike status (not literally but figuratively), and he is in a sense a messianic persona who will “make America great again.” But 30% of the country see him almost as the old line churches used to preach about the antichrist, a truly apocalyptic figure whose very presence in the American political scene threatens to reverse 100 years of real social progress, which still has a long way to go to be equitable and just.
(Note, the left has a “new man” ideology based on believing human nature is plastic and amenable to change in the right environment while the right has a “natural man” ideology based on adapting the environment to the existing and mostly unalterable human nature as it exists. These two ideologies are incompatible within a single sociocultural and socioeconomic system but could coexist within a vastly more decentralized and pluralistic Union.)
Most of those who love Trump and view any threats to him as threats against themselves tend to be more classical liberal in the sense of fiscal conservative, free market, and socially more libertine albeit within some traditional limits. Most of those who despise Trump tend toward a sort of free market socialism, if we can say such a thing exists, and are rather socially progressive to the degree of seeing those who are socially conservative as illegitimate and their views as unethical, bordering on criminal. But not everyone in either the “love Trump” or “hate Trump” camp falls in either of these categories.
As for the 40% in the middle, this is not a case of being indecisive. Their views are diverse but often definite. Perhaps 80% of the voting public have made up their mind about Donald Trump, and it is likely their views will not change.
This brings us to the dynamite sitting around in a hot room that we call the multiple prosecutions/persecutions of Trump via courts one tends to either see as virtuous and good or corrupt and evil. The strains on the fabric of our political Union are immense as the fabric of our political Union includes trust, respect, tolerance, and consent. Increasingly, both sides see the other as untrustworthy, disrespectful toward fellow Americans, intolerant, and acting outside the consent of the People. In other words, some 60% of the voting public deem the other side as totally illegitimate, and when they win office, all respect for the office goes away if your side didn’t win it.
If we apply that 40% of Democrats and Republicans who think the other side should be resisted with violence, that’s around 24% of the voting public who are already primed ideationally for what amounts to civil war: political violence aimed at the opposition. There are 24 million Americans leaning more and more toward the fringe on their respective sides.
Given either a scenario where Trump is thrown in jail or he is not, the side whose desires were not met will feel a deep sense of rage and betrayal at the system and the more fringe and unstable elements (which both sides shelter among themselves in their desperate search for allies) may begin to engage in political violence. While it is true, the FBI is wholly in the camp of the left and taking extreme measures to “monitor” the right, because the FBI leadership think 30% of Americans are illegitimate because they support Trump, their attention is rather parochial for the Democratic Party than for the integrity of the Union. In other words, the FBI are positive toward elements of the left who may become radicalized to violence if Trump isn’t sufficiently punished in their eyes while the people on the right they are focused on are so many in number, resources are spread too thin to catch the actual fringe elements on the right who may engage in violence.
Basically, as to the leftist fringe, the FBI are blinded by affection, and as to the right’s fringe the FBI monitoring regimen against the right is way too broad and spread too thin to catch the actual fringe. The FBI are hounding pro life activists, parents disgruntled by what they deem grooming of their children, and any conservative remotely connected to January 6, 2021 activities or who was merely in the vicinity of DC on or around that day. In truth, one wonders how human traffickers and mega drug dealers are being dealt with as the FBI turns its monstrous gaze inward at innocent civilians whose ideologies the mostly rabidly loyalists Democratic Party activists in their ranks deem as illegitimate just for existing.
Put more bluntly: the partisan bias of the FBI effectively blinds it from the threats of leftist or rightist fringe elements who could engage in political violence such as we have not seen since the Civil War. This doesn’t mean we will see a civil war, but compared to every major upheaval since the Civil War, this could be the largest even if it doesn’t trip into a second full-fledged civil war.
Trump’s prosecutors or persecutors, depending on your perspective, should take much cognizance of the consequences of how they engage in their efforts. Even if Trump is guilty, if the prosecution looks like persecution because it is patently unfair, or if it looks like the law is too rigorously applied to Trump while others go scott-free, then the temporary satisfaction of bringing Trump down will be replaced quickly by the sheer terror or major political violence and upheaval, perhaps from BOTH right and left fringe elements.
But to not prosecute Trump at all just because it will make people irate, if indeed he is guilty, would be a miscarriage of the Rule of law, hence the need to be equally vigorous about unethical and possibly criminal activities on the other side, of which serious and credible accusations have arisen.
On the other hand is Trump himself, who some may even suggest should consider bowing out and endorsing someone for the good of the country, albeit others will argue if he does that then lawfare will constantly be used to target Republicans knowing they will just bow out when targeted. It is not always true that bowing out is precedent for others, especially if you know maybe you strayed close enough to the edge of the law to raise legitimate concerns, but likewise merely bowing out may not solve the problem if lawfare is simple a tactic now employed by the left against the right.
This means that, even if Trump knows or sincerely believes he is innocent, there is no surefire response he can make for the good of the country as either bowing out or slugging it out could have unknown consequences.
But for his prosecutors/persecutors, depending on your perspective, there is a clear need for caution: to engage in a fair and open process with absolute transparency, to remove all conflicts of interest, and to ensure that the law is applied equally with regards accusations against the other side, e.g. the Biden family dealings. What one cannot see is caution, indeed the rhetoric of his prosecutors has mimicked the hardest and most militant leftwing fringe elements in their rhetoric, not only against Trump but his supporters as well, as if they would truly know whether or not he is guilty.
The blatant partisanship and the fact that the leading prosecutors all have shown reckless abandonment of any pretense of this not being an operation helmed by the DNC itself all bode ill for our country EVEN IF in one or more of these cases he is guilty. HOW one pursues rule of law, including the optics and how one addresses the supporters of the accused, is as important as applying the law to everyone regardless of office or status.
How we got here is a discussion for after we figure out how to navigate past these treacherous waters to safe harbor, and then, when the conflicts and rages have passed, we can ask how to prevent such a situation from happening again. We must preserve our Union and either protecting Trump from what you see as persecution or justly prosecuting his alleged crimes are not nearly as important as maintaining our political fabric and healing our divisions.
Even in the worst-case scenario, we would not predict with certainty that civil war must result, but we do well to warn ourselves of the very real possibility, even if it is the less likely of outcomes. We could see the left totally win as the right lays down, and this some form of leftist Caesarism or the right win and the left lay down, and thus we would see a rightist Caesarism. Or we could see a period of unrest followed by something that cools things off and causes calmer heads on both sides to reach a tolerable peace, this being probably the greatest of possibilities, but still not pleasant.
Due caution and concern should be engaged in and frank, closed-door meetings between the different sides aimed at cooling the political temperature should be ongoing and immediate. The consequences to the world if America falls from within would make World War Two look like a skirmish. Thus, the preservation of our Union, in any form, is, with a 100-year view, more tolerable than even having our political faction totally win if such “victory” undermines the Union.
While for us at the Freedomist liberty or death is an essential element of our ideas and while we may tend to think a Republican win is the least hazardous, for now, to our rights and prosperity, the urgency of preserving our Union for future generations is equally pressing. The ability to carve out gaps for freedom even if the authoritarians on either side have some ascendance for a time is equally urgent to these other considerations and may be the only aspect of preserving our Union that we who do not hold power can do. This applies to all of us, whether we count ourselves to right, to the left, or somewhere in between.
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