By ED SHERWOOD
The bedrock of our nation’s founding and preservation is the Constitution of the United States of America. The rule of law is its founding principle. Equal application of the law to all has been a long evolving, not yet perfect, vital corollary. Will that continue?
The resilience of our nation to withstand national political crises and continue as a nation “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” rests on the outcome.
It appears that some in both political parties are choosing to abandon these formerly cherished foundational precepts. The Democrats as the party in power with the presidency and control of the Senate appear to be selectively enforcing the law by refusing to charge and try “favored persons.” Hunter Biden is one case in point. Hillary Clinton is another.
But they have had no hesitation to initiate impeachments of Donald Trump or bring the weakest of charges against him — as the New York City District Attorney Bragg did recently in Manhattan.
Trump has been an inviting target. He is an autocratic, narcissistic brawler who is quite comfortable using and abusing the legal system. From the 1980s until his presidency, Trump has been involved in thousands of legal cases. USA today puts the number at over 3,500 lawsuits for and against Trump and his business interests.
Former Vice President Pence and insiders who were personally aware of Trump’s efforts and pressure to have Pence overturn our last presidential election on flawed constitutional grounds have testified under oath of Trump’s inappropriate disregard and failure to uphold his personal oath to defend our Constitution.
Not a single court, including the Supreme Court, accepted Trump’s bogus claims that the election was stolen from him. None of the 200+ judges Trump appointed during his term of office formally and legally supported his claims. That included three Supreme Court justices. The legal evidence was not there.
Now comes a serious and severe test of whether Trump is a law-abiding citizen. It is also a test of whether the GOP and conservative, patriotic citizens genuinely believe in the rule of law.
If Trump willfully violated national security laws by inappropriately and illegally taking Top Secret records about our nation’s nuclear weapons and defense plans and failed to properly secure or declassify them, and was deceptive about what he has done, why shouldn’t the full weight of the law be brought to bear on his actions?
Yes, he is innocent until proven guilty. That is another bedrock principle of our nation. But many Trump supporters have already begun to rail against Trump being charged and tried in a court of law even though that is how our legal system works.
To oppose this legal process shows many conservatives really do not believe or support the rule of law or its capacity to provide justice.
The bickering between political parties is reminiscent of kindergarten squabbles. “She hit me first. I just did to her what she did to me. You didn’t punish her, why punish me?” Right and wrong in the matter of Trump’s actions must be determined in a court of law with the right to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court.
True, the court of public opinion is important, but God forbid that becomes more important than the rule of law. Let’s let a jury and judge hear the facts of the case before we make any final judgments. In Scripture, Proverbs 18:13 says a person is foolish (acts like a fool) if they answer a matter before it is fully heard.
Some former supporters of Trump like his last Attorney General, Bill Barr, say, “Trump’s mishandling of classified information is a self-inflicted wound. If he had returned the documents as requested, he would not have been charged.”
There is also an opportunity for a plea bargain by Trump. He wrote the book, “The Art of the Deal.” No harm in letting him have his day in court with the best lawyers money can buy. If he is once again vindicated, all the better. May justice be done according to our laws.
The question for all of us is this: “Does Lady Liberty still wear a blindfold in matters of justice according to our laws?” Does our Statue of Liberty still rightly proclaim, “Liberty Enlightening the World”?
For now, I will settle for liberty enlightening our nation. If not, we all are losers, and our nation is headed into a dark and deepening abyss.
[Ed Sherwood formerly wrote a local weekly editorial opinion called “Taking a Closer Look.” He is the author of the widely acclaimed 2021 book, “Courage Under Fire: The 101st Airborne’s Hidden Battle at Tam Ky.” The book honors young, junior enlisted paratroopers who courageously fought and won an undisclosed, almost forgotten, 1969 major battle at great sacrifice of life during the Vietnam War. The battle was fought just as President Nixon, who was newly elected to end the unpopular war, announced the first US troop withdrawals. “Courage Under Fire” was a finalist in the Army Historical Foundation’s 2021 Book of the Year in the category, Battles and Operations.]