“President Trump is a 76-year-old man. He’s not an easy kid to impress. Just like everyone else in our country, he must take responsibility for his own actions and his own choices.”
Those were the words of Representative Liz Cheney on Tuesday in her opening statement at the House select committee hearing Saturday, when she denied what she said was a new strategy among Donald Trump’s defenders: claims that he has been manipulated by outside advisers and is therefore “incapable of distinguishing right from wrong.”
Basically, Trump lied about the election because of him lie about the election.
But, as Cheney has pointed out, Trump actively chooses the advice of “crazy people” over advice from the authorities, and therefore cannot, or at least should not, “evade responsibility by deliberately blind way”.
Willful blindness is a self-imposed ignorance, but as Thomas Jefferson put it: “Ignorance of the law is no excuse, in any country. If that’s the case, the law loses its effect because it can always be forged. “
If Trump is a supporter of anything, it’s pretense. He’s a kid, but he’s not a kid.
Cheney’s argument immediately reminded me of the case of Pamela Moses, a black woman and activist in Memphis.
In 2019, Moses wants to register to vote. A judge told her she couldn’t because she was still on felony probation.
So Moses turned to another, lower authority — a probation officer — for a second opinion. The probation officer calculated (incorrectly, it turned out) that her probation was over and signed a certificate to that effect. Moses submitted the certificate along with her voter registration form.
The local attorney then filed criminal charges against Moses, arguing that she should have known she was not eligible to vote because the judge, who has the most authority in the equation, had told her to. it’s like that.
Moses was found guilty of voter fraud and sentenced to six years and a day in prison, with the judge saying, “You tricked the probation department into giving you documentation saying that you were out of probation.”
How is this materially different from what Trump did when he tried to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election? All Authorities – Bill Barr, head of the Department of Justice; White House Attorney; and state election officials – told him he had lost the election, but he sought other opinions, opinions that confirmed his own.
This is not to say that the prosecution and conviction of Moses was justifiable, but rather to illustrate that we live in two different realities of criminal justice: Those without power, especially the minorities and those unable to pay for expensive lawyers, trapped in a ruthless and invincible. system, while the rich and powerful encounter a completely different system, one who is cautious to the point of cowardice.
Earlier this year, Moses’ conviction was dropped because a judge ruled that the Tennessee Department of Corrections had keep evidence, and the prosecutor dropped all criminal charges against her.
However, by the time her probation ended, Moses had spent 82 days in detention, a period of which she could not be retrieved, and she is now permanently barred from registering to vote or voting in the state. .
Here’s the least consequence Trump faces: He should be barred from participating in the election process ever since.
Some of the laws Trump may have broken during his crusade to overturn the election – like conspiracy to defraud the government – are more complicated than illegal voter registration, but it is appropriate. fit of course in a system skewed towards the rich and powerful. Minor crimes are always easier to prosecute than white-collar criminals.
This is the country where the Internal Revenue Service audits poor families – those with an annual income of less than $25,000 – at a rate five times higher than it audits others, a University analysis shows. Syracuse Find.
The way we target people to punish in this country is rarely the pursuit of justice and fairness; it simply reflects the fact that vise squeezes strongest at points of least resistance.
The fact that Trump has so far faced few legal consequences for many of his violations has eroded people’s trust.
I believe this has contributed to our trust in American institutions, as measured by a recent Gallup poll. There are certainly many factors that erode the trust Americans once had in their institutions, but I believe a justice system rife with injustice is one of the key factors. In the poll, only 4% of Americans strongly believe in the criminal justice system.
The only organization that did worse on that metric was Congress, with just 2%.
We are having a criminal justice crisis in this country and people are portraying Trump’s behavior as a child in hopes of keeping him from facing the consequences in a detention country. real children.
Follow Center for Child Safety and Crime Prevention“About 10,000 minors under the age of 18 are incarcerated in adult offenders’ prisons and prisons, and juveniles make up 1,200 of the 1.5 million people incarcerated in state detention facilities. and federal.”
There is no excuse for what Trump has done, and if he is not held accountable for it, faith in the United States as a “nation of law” will be lost even further. .