Nobody Is Above The Law

By now, news of the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made headlines everywhere in the world. This news is significant because his removal means that the president will now replace him with someone who intends to disrupt and shut down the investigation into foreign interference of our elections. I’ve already detailed the reasons why we should care about election interference. But this act is an obvious attempt to allow those responsible for the attempted sabotage of our most sacred right to walk free. This is not acceptable, and nobody is above the law.

I remember the moment I first saw the Arab Spring protests against Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Their struggle for freedom in the face of such obvious corruption and their audacity to take to the streets against a merciless dictator was something I admired. In my naive thinking, I even felt a little envious of those protesters. After all, they were fulfilling the dream of self-determination. They were part of an historic movement and could proudly place their names among the many who have striven for freedom around the world. America, it seemed to me, had long since succeeded in its struggle against authoritarianism. In my foolishness, I almost lamented the fact that I would never be part of something so momentous.  I now realize just how foolish that line of thinking was.

The events of this administration and the apparent contempt for the rule of law are an affront to the founders of this nation. When one person can so brazenly attack the independence of the judiciary, the political neutrality of the FBI, and the evidence-based reporting of the free press, it illustrates a disturbing departure from the values that separate us from the world's authoritarian powers. Certainly, the president must have some protection and insulation from minor incidental violations of law. After all, it would be insane to prosecute a sitting president for jaywalking or launch a special counsel investigation over a thirty year old noise complaint from a president's college house party.  But the attempted termination of the Mueller investigation is something entirely different. This investigation is directly related to serious and plausible allegations over money laundering, tax evasion, and inappropriate discussions and secret deals with one of America's greatest geopolitical adversaries. By terminating an investigation which may include scrutiny of his own actions, the president has shown just how little he respects the rule of law in this country.

Now, some people unfortunately believe the Russia issue is completely baseless. In the course of the investigation, there have been almost half a dozen guilty pleas, over twenty indictments, and likely thousands of pages of documented evidence of potential crimes. These involve many senior members of his campaign, his cabinet, and potentially even his own son. To believe that all of these have been secretly fabricated, manipulated, and falsified is to ignore and deny the very existence of objective reality itself.  The idea that there is a Deep State is similarly laughable. Despite the growth of the federal government in the last century, the disparate departments and administrations are far too decentralized to coordinate a massive conspiracy.  You'll notice that the only people who are pushing the Deep State conspiracy theory are media talking heads and political pundits, not actual government workers with verifiable sources.  If the Deep State exists at all, it is only out of a response to the president's attempts to politicize the intelligence community and purge or prosecute all elements of the executive branch that do not swear fealty to him. The president has mistaken the honest and impartial work of the majority of the federal government as a direct attack against him.  Truly, this attitude reeks of guilt.

To all Trump supporters, his actions do not reflect you or your ideas. The president tapped into a deep and understandable frustration with American government and the shortcomings of globalization. Unlike the elite of Washington D.C., he spoke in a more down-to-earth language that many people could understand. And even though many did not like exactly what he was saying, they liked that he was able to express their feeling that rural America is being abandoned. But the president was never like those for whom he claimed to speak. Like his gaudy business empire, it was merely a thin facade masking a morally repugnant and selfish reality. America has awakened to the problems that you face, and others will champion your causes and fight for the issues which you hold most important.  And better yet, they will have the political experience and ability to represent you far better than Trump has.

The time has come to renew our pledge as a nation to uphold the rule of law. I would encourage all readers and followers of the blog to find their local protest spot and join in the nonviolent celebration of one of our most sacred rights. Our nation is deeply divided. The president is merely a symptom of this division, but is also one of the greatest contributors to it. We desperately need a return to civility in politics. I now pray for the days when government was boring and the biggest scandal was the color of the president's shirt. Once this crisis is finally resolved, we must seek renewed understanding and respect for one another. There should be no joy in the potential removal of a president, nor should there be smug proclamations of perceived vindication from those who oppose him. Instead, we must all understand that this sort of tragic departure from the rule of law can happen to any political party or ideology. We all have the capacity for great selflessness and even greater selfishness. History is watching.