Our favorite wacky ex-president is shouting, dodging, delaying, and obstructing his way back into our hearts. He’s hoping to once again avoid consequences for his repulsive and potentially lethal behavior.
And there are plenty of Americans who are happy to help him do so. Now, I’m not talking about the usual co-conspirators, enablers, sycophants, rabid followers, and nutjobs. We know that those guys are all in, all the time.
No, I’m talking about the well-meaning Americans who are advocating for Biden to pardon Trump. This misguided plea usually rests on one of four arguments. And they are all bad.
First, there is the argument that Trump should be pardoned out of a desire to unify the nation. How or why the country would be unified by coddling a wannabe dictator is never addressed.
Nor is it ever acknowledged that every progressive, and most of the moderates, would view this action as proof of corruption, not unity. And of course, MAGA would view a pardon as vindication and encouragement rather than mercy.
Oh, I know that Boomer nostalgia holds that Ford pardoning Nixon allowed the country to “heal.” Well within a decade of that action, Republicans were back in the White House and subverting the constitution—that would be Iran-Contra, for you kids who don’t remember—and GOP arrogance continued to increase exponentially, to the point where decades later, “a significant portion of Republicans are increasingly likely to resort to violence against the government and political opponents.”
So that “healing” really paid off in the long run.
It’s also never explained how holding Nixon accountable would have damaged the country. The nation had gone through Vietnam, multiple political assassinations, and Watergate—but an ex-president getting a legal slap on the wrist would have cratered the country?
Similarly, in the last few years, the United States has endured a pandemic, ongoing street protests, a shaky economy, threats of civil war, and mass shootings every 19 minutes. But indicting Trump will fray our otherwise solid union, right?
Since we’re making historical comparisons, keep in mind that Nixon did not demand the allegiance of jackbooted thugs like Trump does, so there was no chance of violent retribution from Tricky Dick fans. That’s not the case with MAGA supporters. These are people who are thrilled to tell you how much they would love to shoot liberals in the streets.
And, of course, they have already attempted a coup.
This leads to the second argument, which is that Trump should be pardoned to avoid provoking right-wingers into violence. It’s an interesting point, in that it acknowledges that conservatives are more prone to violence, undermining the idiotic “both sides” premise.
But more than that, it is a cowardly acquiescence to fascistic thugs. It is basically saying: “We will be nice to your deranged leader, so please don’t hurt us, Mr. Oath Keeper.”
As everyone from Chamberlin to Zelenskyy can tell you, once you give in to threats and appease the madman, the violence doesn’t abate. It only increases. Republicans are already promising violence if Trump is indicated, so a pardon will show them that such threats work.
The third argument for a pardon is that it will somehow benefit Biden’s presidency. This is surprising, and it completely dismisses any notion of what’s best for America in favor of what’s best for Democrats. So what was all that talk about “country before party”?
In any case, this haphazard political ploy will never work. Perpetual optimists believe that if Democrats continue to grovel before conservatives, some tiny percentage of the “Let’s Go Brandon” crowd will say, “On second thought, I’ll vote for the people I view as pedophile communist devil-worshippers.”
This is the strange liberal fascination with appeasement: Republicans will come after your family if you insult them on Twitter, and Democrats will meekly accept death threats and apologize for offending fascists.
Why is the very idea of holding conservatives accountable for their overt treachery such a terrifying concept for liberals? And why is it always progressives who have to compromise in the interest of maintaining peace? Has anyone considered that maybe Republicans should support prosecuting Trump in the interest of unity?
Never mind… I know the answer.
The final argument is one that is more subconscious than logical. You see, there has long been an assumption in America that the only valid opinions are those of white men, especially conservatives.
Sure enough, the Trump-appointed judge who approved bringing in a special master issued a ruling that “makes MAGA Republicans the only ones whose sentiments matter.” The judge “felt obliged to reassure MAGA Republicans that Trump is being treated fairly, rather than the rest of us that the rule of law is being protected,” and this mindset “redefines the American public and American principles.”
In essence, we should pardon the traitorous lunatic because it’s what the white guys want.
So will Biden embrace any of these four ludicrous arguments?
Well, pardoning Trump would encourage right-wingers to get even more violent, do nothing to unify the nation, undermine the rule of law—and guarantee that Democrats will continue to be viewed as the party of scared cowards. So, yeah, I’m thinking this is not such a winning idea.
The fact that so many Americans support a pardon for Trump is further evidence of the nation’s crumbling political structure. It is proof that a lot of Americans aren’t interested in justice, unity, or “healing.”
Their support for a pardon is nothing more than a verification of their fear.
Featured image by Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0