Americans have been hearing the word “unprecedented” a lot lately. On some levels, the term is warranted. On some other levels, it is not. When it comes to indicting and prosecuting corrupt politicians, it certainly is not. Corrupt politicians of all stripes and ideologies have littered our history on a pretty regular basis. It is no different today.
On her weekly program last night, Rachel Maddow made that crystal clear. We can talk about people like Rick Perry or Jim Traficant, Tom DeLay or John Edwards — from local officials to state officials to federal officials, when corruption is discovered, local, state and federal prosecutors are ready, able, and willing to enforce the law.
After all, we are a nation of laws.
When it comes to former office holders, it is no different. When someone leaves political life after resigning or being defeated in an election, they are just like everyone else. No special rules should apply, as they are citizens, just like you and me.
Maddow listed off an impressive list of officials and former officials that were indicted and prosecuted. Some of them convicted. Some of them ended up being called a number rather than a name after being sent to prison — just like you or I would.
So, when it comes to imminent indictments for former President Donald Trump being indicted, Americans need to realize that this isn’t “unprecedented.” Whether one likes Donald Trump or not, he is an American citizen and prosecuting him for crimes is what should happen. Not prosecuting him would be the “unprecedented” thing.
Furthermore, America always survives such things. To paraphrase Maddow, it doesn’t bend or break the Constitution when we indict criminals for crimes. It is run of the mill stuff.
We prosecuted a sitting Vice President, Spiro Agnew for corruption and the republic survived. We have done the same when any official or former official is discovered to be corrupt or commit crimes. The world doesn’t end and prosecuting them doesn’t threaten the republic in any way.
Yes, Donald Trump being a former President is “unprecedented” but our history is full of just about every other kind of politician and official being fingerprinted and having their mugshot taken. Furthermore, it has only not happened because of two things. Nixon resigned and got a pardon as part of a deal to avoid prosecution and Bill Barr protected and shielded Trump from prosecution.
America survives and people forget about it. Why? It doesn’t cause a constitutional crisis or threaten anything that we know as America. We might not like that corruption exists in politics, but at the same time we need to remember that our system is well built to deal with it.
So, Maddow contends, when people predict huge protests or “civil war” if a particular politician is indicted, don’t worry about it. Maddow says such things might be someone’s wish, but it is by no means inevitable. We don’t need to “dismantle” or ‘rethink” or legal system, as it has worked just as it is meant to through every indictment, prosecution, and conviction of every single politician and former politician in our history.
Check out Maddow’s great monologue that puts things in perspective below …