By Joe Rothstein
Donald Trump promised to “make America great again.” Instead, he has been waging war on America.
Refusing to obey the nation’s laws and undermining the law itself.
Unconstitutionally assuming powers not delegated to the presidency.
Promoting the incarceration of his domestic political rivals.
Using public resources for his personal financial gain.
Attacking the fundamental basis for our democracy — -our right to vote, our system of peaceful transition of power, his call for his followers to take up arms against political opponents, his attacks on the media as “enemies of the people” for merely exercising their First Amendment rights.
It’s likely that the majority of Americans will see Trump’s actions for what they are and vote him out of office November 3. But he has yet to agree to accept that judgement. It is no idle concern that thousands of his heavily armed supporters could be encouraged to try to thwart that result on election day or in the days after.
What price should Trump pay for this assault on America? Is election defeat sufficient?
Numerous civil and criminal actions are on pause, waiting to resume once Trump loses presidential immunity. But is even that sufficient?
No, it’s not. We’ve tried looking away from assaults on our democracy before and that has only resulted in more and more dangerous attacks. After Vietnam, Watergate. After Watergate Iraq. After Iraq, Trump.
There should have been an accounting for Vietnam. We know from the Defense Department’s own Pentagon Papers and a bookshelf of other historical works that two Presidents of the United States, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, their Defense Secretaries and Secretaries of State, and their military leaders lied us into that war and kept us there for more than a decade. More than 50,000 Americans in our nation’s uniform died fighting a war they were told needed to be fought to defend America. More than a million southeast Asians, most of them innocent civilians, died in the crossfire.
Yet, no one was held accountable. No one went to jail, or even to trial. Nixon compounded his criminality with Watergate, but was pardoned and went on to live comfortably at a California beach resort.
When George W. Bush and Dick Chaney and Donald Rumsfeld decided to use 9/11 as an excuse to invade Iraq, they went ahead confident there would be no personal price to pay if things went badly. If lying our way into Vietnam was not a crime, lying our way into Iraq would not be either. And they were right…