Banana Republic USA?

I have a really bad feeling about this Ukraine thing. You know, the one where Trump spoke to the president of Ukraine, which is dependent on hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to keep the Russians at bay, and repeatedly demanded that Ukraine “investigate” (read: smear) Joe Biden, a potential rival for the White House.

How do we know Trump did this, aside from reporting about a whistleblower complaint that the Trump administration has refused to turn over to Congress even though the law clearly requires it to do so? Because he has admitted it. Repeatedly. On national television.

So the president who accepted help from Russia to get elected is now soliciting help from another country to get reelected. And unlike the last time, when he kept his perfidy on the down-low, having cutouts do his dirty work such that Mueller could not prove a conspiracy, this time Trump is doing it all out in the open.

It’s like he’s trying to prove he was right when he said he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and it wouldn’t cost him any of his supporters. Except, instead of shooting someone, he’s trying to put a bullet between the eyes of American democracy.

Trump is today, for all intents and purposes, a dictator. He recognizes no limits on his powers. He orders federal personnel, and even campaign aides who’ve never worked a government job, to ignore congressional subpoenas and claim nonexistent privileges to frustrate investigations and avoid oversight. He ignores Congress’ appropriations power, redirecting duly appropriated funds to his pet projects. His businesses solicit and receive money from foreign individuals, companies and governments. He even funnels taxpayer cash into the Trump Organization’s coffers.

Republicans, who once were moved as a party to finally stand up to Nixon over much less outrageous conduct, are now mostly silent. Many even cheer Trump on.

I understand Pelosi’s reluctance to commit the House to Trump’s impeachment. I get that it will likely ultimately prove futile because Senate Republicans will never provide the votes needed to reach the two-thirds majority required to remove him from office. I also get that the political fallout could cost Democrats the House in 2020.

Pelosi is not wrong about these things. In fact, I trust her political sense implicitly. She has done an amazing job as speaker and as minority leader before that.

But I fear this may be bigger than politics. Without some sort of dramatic, highly visible pushback, I think we’ll be in banana republic territory for the foreseeable future.

It’s use it or lose it time for the rule of law, and Nov. 3, 2020 is just too far away.

David Harada-Stone

Author: David Harada-Stone

What say you, the people?