Last week, and again this week, the FBI raid on the Trump compound at Mar A Lago has been in the news and the media and the blogosphere. We’ve seen people of all political shades come up with a truly amazing set of arguments pro and con. Some have declared this the end of the republic (sorry, too late by well over a century). Others have heralded it as finally achieving true tyranny (sorry, again too late – probably by 160 or so years; certainly by almost 90). More shook their heads and said this was politics and men, not laws. Still others have cried “this was legal and right” explaining the law and how warrants work and all the rest. It isn’t just a matter of never-Trump and anti-Trump and Trumpista views: the reaction seems to have crossed all those lines.
Let us try to ignore whose ox was gored, and who gored it – but just at the wisdom and morality of what was done. And the consequences for all the rest of us.
The Trump Raid, like so many other things that have happened over the last several decades, points out a basic fact that many (most?) Americans try to ignore.
Just because some action is legal under federal, state, or local law – does NOT make it either morally good, wise (right and proper), or just.
This is perhaps the worst evil of so-called democracies, and even of republics to some degree. Morality, justice, and good are NOT determined by majority vote. Whether that is a majority of the people of a jurisdiction, the majority of the electorate, the majority of the electorate actually voting, OR the majority of some representative legislative body present and casting a vote.
The Trump Raid very well may have been conducted in accordance with all the laws of the land, following all the judicial procedures, all the proper protocols, and with all do deliberation on the part of the prosecutors, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the proper Federal Court, and everything else. Every T crossed, every I dotted.
That does NOT make it a good thing to have been done. Many of the reasons have been pointed out already by far more able writers. Does this make the FedGov a “banana republic?” Maybe. Does this make Uncle Joe MORE of a tyrant because it happened on his watch? Perhaps. Does this create big problems for the future? Absolutely.
It was an incredibly stupid thing to have done: legal but almost certainly immoral, unwise, and unjust. It seems to be certain that both the action and its timing were politically-motivated. And ill-thought-out. Both of the old parties will suffer the consequences, again, as the pundits are busy pointing out.
Why do I say it is immoral? Not because it was an act of aggression against Trump – though I can argue it was. But because it was an act of aggression against fundamental concepts of liberty and freedom: the use of threatened and actual violence to force someone to do something – without even a pretense of seeking voluntary agreement. So it is also implied that now such an act of aggression can have any American as its target. If they can do it to Trump, they can do it to anyone. (Not that some jurisdictions and agencies haven’t been doing it to anyone and everyone for a long time now.)
Why is it unwise? Because the lid is off the box: here is the “banana republic” argument: we no longer can expect a normal transition of power after an election or an inauguration. The ante has been upped. Those who lose an election now can expect to be hounded for a long time to come by the victors – or the partisans of the victors. More than perhaps anything else, this changes the dynamics of power both in DC and in the State capitols.
And unjust? Ironically, because it shows that the consensus among the powers-that-be is that the judiciary is not just political (favoring and coming out against people based on who they are and just based on fair and honest application of the law), but willing to betray their obligations so that they can please those calling the shots and maintain and further their own power.
Trump is NOT an honest, likeable, trustworthy, or honorable man. It is more than likely that he DID violate some law or another – fail to follow some regulation, procedure, or protocol. But then, is it possible for ANYone to live in today’s America and not violate the law regularly?
This isn’t really about Trump – it is about the stripping of the velvet off the steel of the gloved fist of tyranny. Of a strategy and tactics used today against the Trumps of the country but tomorrow on anyone that is in the way.
Footnote: (Possibly more to talk about tomorrow: Note that the week’s primary results definitely seem to be mixed. In Wyoming the GOP rebellion against the Cheney dynasty seems VERY successful but getting rid of Gordon, a GOP governor who should have been impeached and thrown out of office because of his COVID-based tyranny and bowing down to the medical priesthood, failed. And Alaska? With the ranked voting system they have, we really don’t know – except that the so-called RINO (unlike Cheney) may have survived. But certainly both States show that Trump is still a major political force in the nation. Did the FBI raid’s timing seek to nullify his influence? Hard to say, but probably not. Back to legalities and such.)