The accelerating pace at which the United States is collapsing is matched only by the growing hope among those in power that everything will be resolved if they simply get Donald Trump out of the way. This, of course, is wishful thinking of the first order. More than half a decade after Trump first stepped off the escalator, those who run nearly every American institution still don’t realize he’s a symptom of what’s going on in the country — not the cause.
Even more damaging, those in power have lost faith that the political system will get rid of Trump, so they are now resorting to brute force. And now the criticism is not just aimed at Trump or those who stormed the Capitol and deserve it, but all Trump voters. Raising the bar like they did caught a country on edge and brought it that much closer to disaster. If there are still cool heads among American leaders, it is time for them to mobilize.
The first casualty of the establishment’s war on Trump has been freedom of speech. The left now celebrates censorship over the battle of ideas. Some ideas are just too dangerous, that’s the new attitude. They should not be heard. This crazy, un-American notion started in the classroom and is now prevalent among most American journalists and certainly among those who run the social media platforms where the word is now conducted.
The problem, of course, is trying to suppress ideas doesn’t work. Bad ideas must be overcome by good ideas. Those who espouse ideas must fight in the court of public opinion. You cannot bypass this process by force. Many authoritarian countries have tried this, and it never worked for long.
The latest victim seems to be the rule of law. No one in America should be above the law. Many on the American left have argued against this notion in recent years. As a result, crime skyrocketed in many cities. Clinging to these crazy radical ideas is one of the reasons Democrats suffer politically.
Most Americans would agree that if Trump broke the law in any significant way, he should be held accountable. Everyone also knows that prosecutors and law enforcement agencies have wide latitude in enforcing laws.
In the event of a violation of classified documents regulations by a former president, the complications are compounded by the enormous power that the US Constitution grants to US presidents. If the public perceives that authorities are abusing their prosecutorial discretion for political purposes, that laws are not being administered fairly, the repercussions could be devastating.
If Hunter Biden is given a free pass after potentially breaking major laws, then America is on the verge of becoming a third world country. If the Biden administration’s Justice Department unfairly went after the president’s biggest political opponent months before the election, it must give a full explanation.
Surprisingly, the Biden administration does not appear to have considered this factor at all before conducting a mob-style raid on the former president’s home. No explanation was offered for days, and when it was, the vast majority were literally redacted. To this day, the government has yet to explain why Trump’s treatment was so different from Hillary Clinton’s treatment for what seems to most people like similar behavior.
No one can force the Biden administration to explain in detail its rationale, why means other than a mob raid could not have been used, and how that differs in substance from the way Clinton was treated. There are efforts by the courts to force answers to these questions, but they are unlikely to succeed unless the administration wants to explain itself.
The administration should want to do just that. If it’s not political at all, you’d expect them to bend over backwards to explain how and why. The absence of this explanation is the most damning part of it all.
All of this has sent the national temperature soaring to breaking point. Headlines in major US newspapers are now debating whether the country is headed for a civil war. Politicians and activists bet on who would win. The greatest country in the history of the world is literally collapsing. It’s time for those who care about America to step up. The current course is unsustainable.
Those who control the levers of government, media, business, entertainment and academic power have a clear choice for the future. They must start fighting again and try to win the battle of ideas. Many of the policies that have benefited America’s elite don’t work for ordinary people. This has been the source of all current political unrest. It started with the financial crisis. The elites have also enriched themselves by helping the rise of an authoritarian China.
How was that good for ordinary Americans?
It is time to engage in this debate and so many others. If mistakes have been made, it’s time to admit it and find solutions. The heads of the main American institutions hold all the power. No one can get them to commit. They must want to do it for the love of the country.
Ignoring the underlying issues and hoping to win by increasing brute force levels is another option they can try, but it won’t work. This will only push an incredible country further and further into the abyss.
— Neil Patel is an Indian-American lawyer, conservative political adviser and publisher