So now we have a new chief law enforcement officer in the land, one Donald J. Trump.
If you are white, wealthy and well-connected, this is good news, especially if you have been moldering in prison because you were corrupt, vile and venal in business or politics. Acting on a whim, especially if you were overly nice to him or contributed to his success in some way such as a political contribution, Trump may well pardon you or grant you clemency.
Unless you are on the official list of more than 1,000 potential people seeking pardons and aren’t rich. Then you are doomed, unless you are a friend of Kim Kardashian during one of her quests for publicity.
Trump says he can do what he wants with the Department of Justice, which should be renamed the Department of Political Retribution, because he is at the top of the heap of law enforcement in this country. Thus lawyers and staff members more loyal to the national interest and DOJ than they have fealty to Trump are being thrown out.
So what if career prosecutors recommend prison for Trump’s henchmen and are ignored. Trump is getting ever more adept at co-opting the system for his own purposes. So what if 2,000 former Justice employees complain and demand that Trump’s toady, Robert Barr, resign as attorney general.
Also, if you have the gall to seek the presidency and you get close to the Democratic nomination, you will face a hokey Department of Justice investigation that will taint you forever, even if you are innocent of any wrongdoing. Remember how former Vice President Joe Biden used to be considered a front-runner for his party’s nomination? Before Trump dragged him through Ukraine mud for nothing?
Barr has said he alone will decide whom to investigate for alleged political infractions. That means, of course, he will do whatever Trump wants.
Because of the refusal of special counsel Robert Mueller to insist that Trump be indicted for what he found to be obstruction of justice and the Senate refusal to convict Trump of breaking the law by using the government to smear a political rival, Trump is now as close to a monarch as we have had since crazy George III in the late 1700s, before we were a nation.
As commander in chief, Trump already has played around with war and peace, taken money from the Pentagon to spend on a wall that Congress said was stupidly pointless and arbitrarily assassinated an Iranian general which led to brain injuries for dozens of American soldiers.
As the nation’s economist in chief, Trump has spent billions to subsidize farmers hurt by his trade wars. He has caused the national debt to soar by $3 trillion to more than $23 trillion, even though his party controlled Congress for two of his three years, and continues to spend billions more than the national income. Rich people are better off than ever, while college costs, health costs and living costs are soaring for everyone else even as wages stay flat.
As the nation’s doctor in chief, Trump has waged war on the Affordable Care Act, trying to take health insurance away from millions of families. He has stacked the Supreme Court in hopes one of its pro-Trump rulings will be able to inflict the final death stroke to health care.
The nation’s chief climate change denier has trashed a global treaty designed to try to save the Earth, scuttled years of clean air and water regulations, fired hundreds of scientists and given away public lands and resources to big oil and gas companies.
Yes, we Americans have major problems, but Trump has done nothing about them.
None of us wants the freedoms and fairness and public services that we have taken for granted to disappear; with four more years of Trump that may happen.
The main problem with Trump, other than his crassness, narcissism and disdain for the rule of law, is that he and his sycophants are damaging our institutions in subtle ways that Americans won’t even know or care about until it is too late.
Trump is the bad sheriff who controls the county by fear.