Whether you like, hate, tolerate, or cannot stand Donald Trump or Joe Biden – you should detest above all political dishonesty, demonization of political opponents, and the corrosive, potentially irreversible effect of abusing our criminal justice system for political ends. Political prosecution – famous in Soviet Russia and modern China – is naked persecution, hideous and invidious.
We are entering a “perfect storm,” a sitting president is increasingly likely to be guilty – on hard evidence – of abusing office for personal gain as vice president. Documents – Treasury and l credible whistleblowers – are creating a picture hard to look away from, even for Democrats.
Meantime, this sitting president is content to watch his predecessor turned into a political pinata, two politically motivated local prosecutors in New York spinning yarns for votes, a Georgia prosecutor doing the same, now a federal prosecutor – tone deaf to hypocrisy – at it.
America has NEVER been a place that permits political “show trials,” persecution by pernicious use of the justice system, abuse of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 10th, and 14th Amendments for political ends. We do not allow one political party to monopolize power with impunity, with no accounting.
Yet this is where we are – and it will get worse. Whenever the Republic’s future has depended on putting country over party, we so far managed to do so, but the test genuinely is before us now.
Even in rough patches like the Tea Pot Dome Scandal under President Harding, wire brushing political bosses in the 1920s, Watergate, we have come together to put country first. The Civil War is an exception, but the Union aimed to unify, not split us. We are in a dangerous place.
As we watch the FBI Director stonewall Congress on document production, the AG continue to shield a presumptively criminal president and his family, and now consent to prosecuting administrative misjudgment as Espionage, indicting a former president for document mishandling – as nearly all presidents do – we are in trouble.
We are in more trouble if we do not recognize all this as a huge departure from our historic roots, founding principles, and what holds this nation together. To be clear, we are not bound by ethnic sameness, nor by perpetuating some prejudice against the world. We are “one nation under God” by to our ideals. Hitting a political opponent, the leading one, with an indictment – is not one.
If we abandon our history, written and unwritten, what binds us to the past, historic interpretations of the Constitution, laws, and institutions that keep us civil, what have we left?
If we do not openly demand that these hideous political acts stop – indictments, demonizing the other political party, calling them anti-democratic, persecuting them for faith, we are in deep trouble. If we do not stay clear of political show trials, we will fast become what we detest.
The word “invidious,” like hideous, means – in its own way – a horrible turn, terrible, discriminatory, unjust, and intentional. Joe Biden and his administration apparently do not care if what they are doing amounts to hideous and invidious behavior, discrimination of a kind that imperils the Republic. If they do not, we must.
In short, watch the weeks ahead – and brace for an escalation of the administration’s hideous and invidious acts. We have not recently been swept into such a “perfect storm” – if we ever have. Events are taking us in the wrong direction. Needed are level heads, a return to America as the priority, not party or spleen, not hatred of an opponent, and not ends justifying means.
Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.