NY v. Trump – a victory for the rule of law

Yesterday Donald Trump was convicted by a jury of 34 counts in the so-called “hush money” case.  But what this case was really about was Trump’s cheating in the 2016 presidential election, by covering up his affair with Stormy Daniels with false documents.  Democracy requires that all participants respect the process and accept the results.  You cannot support democracy only when you win.

Trump and his sycophants have called this trial “rigged.”  That is a dangerous lie.  The rule of law is the foundation of our democracy.  Any challenges to the verdict can be challenged through an appellate process that challenges rulings by the trial court to which Trump’s lawyers objected.  But saying that the process is “rigged” is a dangerous lie that can lead to violence.

Trump’s political career is marked by efforts to cheat, to ignore or flout the rules.  The first impeachment was because Trump threatened Ukraine’s President Zelensky with withholding aid if Zelensky did not lie and claim that the Bidens were being investigated for their business dealings in Ukraine.

After the presidential election of 2020, and all court claims were settled, Trump then perpetuated “the Big Lie” that the election was stolen.   There was no evidence to support this lie.  Nonetheless Trump incited his followers to storm the Capitol, violating the bedrock principle of American law, the peaceful transfer of power.   People died, were injured, and the Capitol building desecrated.  By way of contrast, Hillary conceded after the 2016 election, and Gore gave up the fight in the 2000 election after the Supreme Court ruled against him.  Also by way of contrast when the Supreme Court ruled that Nixon had to give up the tapes, he complied.

Ironically, Trump did nothing to help Michael Cohen when he was prosecuted federally and went to jail for his participation in the same conspiracy.  Many of Trump’s supporters are serving lengthy prison sentences for their roles in the January 6 insurrection.  What should happen to their leader?

The rule of law is something to respect.  The framers of our Constitution created a system of checks and balances including a court system designed to peaceably resolve disputes and peaceably resolve elections, giving all parties and points of view representation.  It is not perfect but is always improving itself, promoting fairness in court proceedings.   Trump has attacked our elections and our courts in an unprecedented and vicious way.   He calls his conviction a disgrace.  What is disgraceful is his contempt for a system designed to peaceably resolve disagreements and efforts to destroy this system of checks and balances that depends upon people of virtue to support it.  His attacks on America must be rejected if we are to form a more perfect union and leave to future generations the gift that was left to us to preserve and protect – our Constitution.

Lenny Stamm

Greenbelt – May 31, 2024

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