Putting ex-president on trial could backfire
It is a foundational rule in journalism that the editorial and news divisions are kept separate, but a curious and ironic occasion of a mixed message occurred in the June 19 edition of the Globe.
The editorial page set out its position in no uncertain terms in the headline “There is no question: Merrick Garland must put Trump on trial” (Ideas), which calls for Attorney General Garland and the Department of Justice to begin legal proceedings against the former president.
And yet, in the news section, the Globe carried a New York Times story by Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman that undermined pretty much everything in the editorial. Its headline says it all: “Why a prosecution of Trump would face challenges.”
Surely, prosecuting a former president could well play into the hands of the Republicans who fawn over Donald Trump, insofar as they would see it as a pretense to go after any and perhaps all Democratic presidents once they, too, left office.
Besides, what would occur if Trump were prosecuted and he was acquitted? Would it bolster his status as a 2024 presidential Republican candidate?
A horrible thought.
Fear has become Republican Party’s driving force
As I read the Globe every day, I see much that alarms me — politics, increasingly severe storms due to climate change, war, racism. I’ve been wondering how much a person must fear to accept living a lie. I’m thinking of Republican politicians who accept the lie that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election.
The majority of Republican politicians know that this is a lie, and yet many keep repeating it. Do they fear that Trump will make fun of them or run someone against them? Is losing an election their biggest fear? Is that fear so important that they choose to promote the Big Lie?
I also see fear in the way politicians treat their constituents. If you live in fear, telling the truth is dangerous. The way people can win elections is not by promising positive policies but rather by making voters fearful too. They scare constituents, telling them anything, especially misinformation and lies, which, in turn, creates fear in voters.
Unfortunately for our country, the lie that Trump won the election has metastasized and is deeply embedded in many voters’ minds. The former president, top Republican politicians, Fox News, and many on social media spread lies and encourage not just fear but hate and anger. Undermining the elective process is apparently now the go-to strategy for a majority of Republicans.
Time for GOP to break spell Trump has cast
Millions and millions of people genuinely like Donald Trump. Millions of others hold their nose and support him. After watching the Jan. 6 committee hearings, it has to be much harder to look the other way. Trump’s power grab was so blatant and so criminal that to support him you would need more than blinders; you would have to put your entire head in the sand.
Trump was willing to sacrifice his vice president (literally), our institutions, and democracy itself, all in the name of power. What he has done is beyond the pale, and anyone who still supports him is an accomplice.
It’s time for all Republicans to break the cult-like spell he has over them and cast him out. Those in the GOP who have done so are admirable, but they are far too few.
Impeachment was an opportunity lost — twice
A core of Senate Republicans, sworn to impartiality, twice found Donald Trump not guilty of offenses that had been clearly presented to them in two impeachment trials. Some were seen reading newspapers, other talking to each other, and some left while evidence was being presented. Does anyone believe the attack on the Capitol would ever have taken place had a sufficient number of those senators chosen justice and convicted Trump?
Richard D. Gilman