How to put a former president in prison

There’s a common proclivity in human nature to believe that if something extraordinary happened once before then it can, and sometimes must, happen again. A corollary to that theorem might also be that something extraordinary can’t happen if it’s never happened before. However contradictory these two points of view may seem they often occupy the same head. We’ve all seen recent examples of both.

An example of the former goes something like this: since Hillary Clinton was ahead in the polls in 2016 and Trump won anyway, Biden being ahead in the polls in 2020 meant Trump, once again, was also going to win anyway. I’m probably not alone in that I was treated by certain patronizing cretins as a fool for even entertaining the possibility that Biden might win — for that very reason.

Many rabid Bernie supporters were of this opinion, for example. They insisted in fact that the only way to beat Trump was with Bernie, and any other candidate would lose, and because in 2016 they gave the candidacy to Hillary and not Bernie, she lost. And so it was supposed to go in 2020 with Biden. They were positively insufferable about it. Needless to say they have since taken their opinion and run for the hills with it. Hide though they may, however, they know damn well who they are.

An example of the latter is, since no American president has ever gone to prison, no American president ever will. This is an almost unstated — and certainly unwritten — article of faith of the mainstream media. They can’t imagine Trump going to jail because there’s no historic precedent for it. No American president ever has. Besides, one common objection goes like this: how is the secret service supposed to guard a former president if he’s in prison?

I don’t know about you but that question particularly pisses me off. How is a poor, single mother supposed to take care of her children if she goes to prison? I don’t know how to say it in legalease Latin, but I think in English it goes something like, “Tough shit. She goes to jail anyway.” That’s how.

Now, I don’t know for sure if Donald Trump is going to prison or not, and neither does anyone else. That kind of certainty, or something close to it, exists only in autocratic dictatorships like North Korea. In America we have a thing called Due Process and the Presumption of Innocence. So it’s not up to me if Trump goes to prison or not, it’s up to prosecutors, the courts and, ultimately, 12 men and women on a jury and a judge. If Trump ever gets that far.

But the need for Trump to be put in front of a jury, found justly guilty and imprisoned is staggering. So is his body of criminal behavior. Donald Trump may very well be one of history’s biggest criminals, if not the biggest. I don’t know of any single human being in history who has been responsible for as many deaths, as much money stolen, as much money laundered, as many women sexually assaulted and raped, as many honest people swindled, as many people recklessly endangered, as many people incited to violence, as much justice obstructed, as many lies told to Congress and the FBI, as much insider trading, as much mail fraud, as much election fraud, as many treasonable actions, and as many conspiracies to commit felonies as Donald John Trump. If you can think of a bigger criminal please do let me know. But I’ll bet you can’t.

The question isn’t whether or not Donald Trump deserves to go to prison. The question is, what does it say about us if he doesn’t? Failing to put Trump on trial and, ultimately, failing to put him in jail, will mean that we have failed as a democracy in a very important way, possibly in the only way that matters. It would mean we have failed to demonstrate that no one is above the law. Because if Donald Trump doesn’t deserve to go to prison, then frankly no one does.

One thing I won’t abide is the arrogance of those who dare to say that it’s time to move on, forgive and forget and to, with sanctimonious conceit in quoting Lincoln, “bind up the nation’s wounds.” I’m not talking about their willingness to give Trump a pass, either. No I’m talking about their hubris, hubris on a messianic scale. Who the hell gives them the right to forgive all the injustices, thefts, treacheries, murders and rapes this awful man has committed against others? Who would dare to arrogate such a privilege to themselves?

It isn’t up to us to forgive Trump. It’s up to us to see that justice is done, that he is prosecuted to the full extent of the law for the crimes that he has committed against hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of American citizens and human beings across the planet. Anything short of that would be an unconscionable failure on our part as a just society. So let’s do our duty. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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