There are probably many Americans who thought this day would never come. More than a few people, myself included, were skeptical that Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice possessed the strength and courage to overcome their traditional habit of risk aversion.
Instead, the criminal justice system is going to do battle against one of the most devious and horrendous conspiracies in the history of the nation.
The latest indictment of Donald Trump, brought by special counsel Jack Smith are the results of a tedious, laborious, all-encompassing effort to hold those who attempted to overthrow and sabotage the results of an American presidential election accountable. Any person interested in the potential preservation of democracy should relish that Garland and his department is planning to hold all those involved in the coup accountable, including the former president.
According to the indictment, some of the individuals critical to the inquiry are: Rudy Giuliani, the disgraced attorney who oversaw Trump’s attempts to claim the election was marred by widespread fraud; John Eastman, a legal scholar who provided the basis to overturn the election by manipulating the count of electors to the Electoral College; Sidney Powell, a lawyer who encouraged Trump to use the military to seize voting machines and repeat the election; Jeffrey Clark, a former DOJ official; and Kenneth Chesebro and James Troupis, lawyers who helped engineer the plan to employ fake electors pledged to Trump in states that were won by Joe Biden.
The charges in the indictment are breathtaking. It reveals that Trump and his enablers were fiercely brazen in their efforts to retain power at all costs, regardless of the consequences for the nation. One could argue these people give mobsters a run for their money.
The indictment methodically and tediously documents that Trump was repeatedly told time and time and time again by his own advisers, allies and fellow administration officials that his allegations were false and unfounded. Nonetheless, like a horse wearing binders, he publicly continued to state such falsehoods.
He was also told his claims were not true, according to the indictment, by two attorneys general, multiple other Justice Department officials, and the government’s election security chief — all his appointees. He was told by his own vice president, Mike Pence, other campaign officials, the investigators they hired. Moreover, he was given identical information by Republican governors and secretaries of state and state legislators.
It all boils down to one simple fact – Trump’s conspiracy theory was bloated, fabricated garbage. Thus, the only individual who attempted to defraud the nation was Trump himself.
Despite such ravishingly convincing and transparent evidence, I remain unconvinced that even a guilty verdict would alter the impervious perceptions of Trump’s most loyal supporters, who live in the bizarro world of MAGA Land. As the former president commented in 2016 while running for president, he could shoot someone in the middle of 5th avenue and he “wouldn’t lose any voters.”
The modern right is a movement driven in large part by the grievances of a motley crew of disgruntled and angry white men and women who feel they have been deprived of their due respect and deference. They are under the assumption they have been forced to surrender the power that was “rightfully theirs” based on the superiority of their race. They see Donald Trump as the “political messiah,” who will return them to their supposed rightful place of authority. Disillusionment, confusion and resentment have become the current state of affairs for many Republicans.
After the indictment was handed down and announced, widespread support for the former president was immediately evident among right-wing groups. Vast segments of the conservative media echo-chamber have deliriously lauded the increasingly abrasive activity that is occurring among the more aggressive sectors of the cultural right. It has become a sad and horrid spectacle to witness and must not be ignored.
Copyright 2023 Elwood Watson, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate
Elwood Watson is a professor of history, Black studies, and gender and sexuality studies at East Tennessee State University. He is also an author and public speaker.