For a public figure, Donald Trump has gotten away with a lot of inappropriate behavior. There were marital infidelities, self-described “pussy-grabbing,” and habitual lying. These are all on the record, and all must be weighed in the assessment of his character. Even more disturbing than these flaws are his record of not paying his bills to contractors, his share of taxes, and his record of buying and tanking businesses by way of bankruptcy, after skimming the cream off the top for himself.
He has gotten away with the cruel and abusive mockery of women, minorities, and handicapped people. He has gotten away with calling for the violent removal of his political opponents, and asking foreign powers to intervene on his behalf in the presidential election. Now it seems that he has done much more than publicly ask the Russians to erode public confidence in his opponent. We learned from yesterday’s intelligence briefing that he has very likely, through a series of clandestine meetings with Russian officials, offered them quid-pro-quo for doing so, and then had his operatives lie about it.
I know it was important for conservative Americans to believe in Trump. I know it was a stretch for them to fit him into their equation of conservative values, but hey, he’s ebullient, shameless, and charismatic, and that’s the kind of person it took to win. But if Americans allow Donald Trump to get away with treason, probably the most serious crime after genocide, the Republic is doomed.
It would mean that there is no flaw too great, and no crime too serious to forgive in the name of enacting a partisan agenda. If we do not try Donald Trump and his accomplices (including family members) for treason, then there is no fair basis on which to try anyone for the crime.
Just as righteous Evangelists squander their diminishing moral and spiritual currency by genuflecting before his immorality, dishonesty, and general lack of decency, so do previously respectable political conservatives squander their opportunity to object to any future political rival on the basis of morality, truthfulness, or even a working understanding of our political process, by turning a blind eye to his collusion with Russia.
History will either praise today’s lawmakers by drawing a line in the sand, or condemn them for raising a Russian flag on our beach.
March 21, 2017