Chet wordmark with orange bowtie Chet wordmark with orange bowtie

Rough Seas

On his first day in office, New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg issued a memo to his staff outlining which crimes were no longer to be prosecuted in the City of New York. Among them were marijuana misdemeanors, trespassing, prostitution, and some types of burglaries. Twenty-four months on, crime has increased to a degree that the National Guard’s deployment to protect the citizens of New York on the subway system is expected to be extended through the summer.

Now comes Mr. Bragg and his office of public servants into the courts of New York, not to protect the citizens who are daily accosted or have their property stolen, but to prosecute a famous New Yorker, disliked by many, for a bookkeeping crime committed eight years ago. A prosecution that was declined by previous state and federal prosecutors, now charged and tried not in the early days of Mr. Bragg’s tenure, but in the middle of a national election.

The jury has rendered their verdict, and the circus on all sides erupted. Pathetic as it may seem to normal Americans, to let 34 counts of falsifying a business record drive one’s identity and happiness, that’s where we are. It’s easy to be unsurprised, especially when a quarter of the seated jury lists “TikTok” as a major source of their news.

A bedrock principle in our justice system is prosecutorial discretion and its close cousin, the interests of justice. It’s why we release the merchant of death Viktor Bout in exchange for an American hostage held by a foreign power. It’s why no prosecutor brought criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her reckless handling of our nation’s secrets. She was wrong, but there was no justice to be served by prosecuting a failed nominee for President at retirement age. It would only stir up trouble.

Many are puzzlingly giddy at this verdict. They’ve waited many years for this day, first for a crime to be discovered and articulated, and then for a verdict to be rendered. What was the crime? Well, hard to say. No matter, they believed in their heart of hearts that Trump was guilty of something, anything, if only it could be found! They kept the faith and found thirty-four false entries in a ledger that certainly contains millions of entries. A crime was located!

They, too, are puzzled that all are not joining them in seeing Trump’s plain guilt. It’s so obvious: an eight year old case, presided over by a judge who contributed financially to Trump’s political opponents, based on bookkeeping, brought by an openly-political prosecutor, built on the testimony of a disbarred attorney convicted of perjury, who admitted to lying at his own sentencing and to theft from Trump’s company, and a porn star, who owes Trump civil damages in a separate defamation lawsuit, who previously testified that she speaks to ghosts and that, after years of saying that the liaison was consensual, now thinks that maybe it was an assault? Not exactly a slam-dunk of persuasion.

The legal process has much further to go, but it doesn’t matter; the real damage is already done, and it’s not been done to Donald Trump.

The damage is the circular firing squad that we’ve formed in our nation. Blue prosecutors going after Red politicians only serves to invite Red prosecutors to go after Blue politicians.

The DA’s theory of the case was that Trump’s crime was falsifying business records in a conspiracy to win a national election. What about Secretary of State Antony Blinken rounding up those 51 former intelligence officials to write a letter saying the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation, though we now know that at the time of its writing they knew it was the genuine article?

Mr. Morell acknowledged he had two goals with the statement: to “share our concern with the American people,” and to “help Vice President Biden” “win the election.”

Will the District Attorney in Wichita, Kansas indict everyone involved? Will Antony Blinken have to surrender his passport while out on bail?

This is the future we’ve opened ourselves up to; Blue States for Blue People, Red States for Red People. All of this corrosive behavior over the intense love or hatred of a singular man.

Trump is by no means innocent in all this; he’s the king of the own goal. Since losing the 2020 election, his antics have ratcheted up beyond the outrageous. His singular focus on himself and his own grievances is to the detriment of the country and the political party he claims to lead. The federal cases against him appear much stronger, and much more clear-cut.

We’re not fifty nations or even two; we’re one nation. The Baby Boomer generation has done a terrible job of stewardship of this great American experiment. Now that they set off into retirement, it’s time for us to put our one nation back together.

We’re in for rough seas, in this election and beyond. The results will be rejected by a great many, as has been characteristic of national elections in the last 24 years.

But there is reason to hope; this Nation has overcome much bigger challenges and accomplished harder things, and we’ve done so by working together.

All Posts