MONDAY, JULY 25, 2022
Blow seeks prosecution: Charles Blow says that former president Donald J. Trump must be prosecuted—must be charged with a crime.
He advances this view in a new opinion column for the New York Times. His column appears beneath this headline:
We Can’t Afford Not to Prosecute Trump
We can’t afford to proceed without prosecuting Trump. Blow states his nugget here:
BLOW (7/25/22): With the conclusion of this series of hearings about the Jan. 6 insurrection, it has become ever clearer to me that Trump should be charged with multiple crimes. But I’m not a prosecutor. I’m not part of the Department of Justice. That agency will make the final decision on federal charges.
The questions before the Justice Department are not only whether there is convincing evidence that Trump committed the crimes he is accused of but also whether the country could sustain the stain of a criminal prosecution of a former president.
I would turn the latter question around completely: Can the country afford not to prosecute Trump? I believe the answer is no.
Blow says we have to prosecute Trump, apparently for one or more federal crimes. He goes on to explain why he feels that must happen.
We can't say that Blow is wrong—but we also can't say that he's right.
In the macro sense, our view is this. It isn't clear that we can incarcerate our way out of our current political problem—and our current political problem may be existential.
On the micro scale, we note this fact. At no point does Blow explain what crime or crimes Donald J. Trump has committed. In our view, it's easy and fun to insist on prosecution when you aren't even required to name the crime!
Has Donald J. Trump committed a crime? Had he committed a recognizable crime—a crime which can be defined in a way the wide range of people can understand?
At this point, we don't know how to answer those questions. We also fear that it's too late to solve our massive political problem. We suspect that our political and journalistic systems have fallen apart in ways which will be extremely hard to repair.
Here within our liberal tribe, the desire for prosecution is general. On MSNBC, highly-paid TV stars propagandize for this outcome on an hourly basis.
Seldom is heard a discouraging word about this proffered solution. As part of our journalistic breakdown, TV shows on our cable channels now feature—now brook—no dissent.
Everyone you see on these shows will agree with the host's point of view. No challenge to that preapproved view—no disagreement, question, or point of nuance—will intrude on the pleasures of these segregated "cable news" programs.
(You will be told that the members of these preapproved panels are among the host's "favorite reporters and friends." You will be told that these panels have been selected "to help us get smarter." This pabulum will be spooned to you on a daily basis. It's part of corporate branding.)
Trump may well end up being charged with a crime; as lunatic as his conduct has been, we don't know if he should be. But in our view, our nation—such as it is—is facing a political problem which almost surely can't be solved in that way.
That said, our own blue tribe is clamoring widely for prosecution. We can't say that this viewpoint is wrong—but in our view, a wide range of basic questions remain largely unaddressed.
Two of those questions are these:
Unaddressed question: Is it possible that Donald J. Trump really believes that the last election was stolen? This takes us into the general area of Donald J. Trump's cognitive / psychiatric state, an area our upper-end press corps will never agree to address.
Unaddressed question: Is it possible for any nation to survive our current media regime of wholly partisan talk radio shows; wholly partisan cable news channels; wholly partisan Internet sites; and crackpot social media?
We'll return to the first of those questions tomorrow, then proceed onward from there. Other such unaddressed questions exist. Our general view would be this:
Round the decay of our nation's wreck, quite a few questions remain. The specific nature of Mister Trump's crime would be one such question. But there are quite a few others besides.
One thing seems dangerously clear:
Almost surely, we can't incarcerate our way out of our current political mess. Whatever you think of the proposed prosecution of Trump, it seems to us that it's very unwise to imagine that we can solve our political / journalistic / existential problem in that particular way.
Our nation—such as it was—has basically ceased to exist. Silent secessions are taking place. Especially given our media structure, it seems to us it will be very hard to patch things together again.
Could it be that Putin is right? Has the future, such as it might have been, already been lost to us?
Tomorrow: What George Conway said