Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Legal System vs Justice System

America has a legal system, not a justice system.  A legal system is tied to the letter of the law; the goal of a legal system is to win.  A justice system resides in the spirit of the law; the goal of a justice system is to reach the truth.

The impeachment trial of Donald Trump exemplifies the difference.  Everyone agrees about what he did and most agree that it was wrong; but the specific word to fit what he did was not in the constitution so he was acquitted . . . his side won!  If it had been a justice system and the goal were to reach truth; the impeachment would have been upheld.  

The letter of the law is absolute and seems to be unbendable, yet it is subject to manipulation by clever minds seeking to win at all costs.  When winning becomes the primary goal, truth and justice suffer.

In day to day living there are few if any absolutes.  Life is infinitely complex and variables effect how actions are viewed.  In this case, the actions of Donald Trump seen through the eyes of justice were wrong.  It was not merely an impulsive misjudgment on his part, it was an elaborate and long-term plan to entice a young newly elected leader, who had pledged to fight corruption, to be led—forced by circumstances—into participating in corruption.  The financial aid desperately needed by his country was being with withheld.  The truth is that this action alone is worth impeachment.

But looking further into the truth-justice issue: Trump operates as a con-man without a conscience;  his personal views alone guide his actions.  His history shows numerous unethical business deals.  Among others are those involving bankruptcy in which he protected his money while all others, from investors to the cleaning people, lost.  His misogynistic attitude was clearly captured on TV.  He blatantly lies about everything and anything and repeats the lies over and over until some folks come to believe him.  He unconscionably hurls insults and slander at anyone who opposes him.  In short, he acts more like a dictator than a president.  A democracy requires that a person of honor and integrity lead it.

Since he took office, the U.S. world standing has steadily gone down.  He disparages allies and embraces dictators.  He single-handedly has withdrawn our country from international treaties that were years in preparation.  All the world now recognizes the Climate Crisis but he denies it.  He has defamed the reputation of all institutions supporting our democracy from our intelligence agencies to the free press.

Our legal system has enabled Donald Trump to continue to ravage our country’s reputation,  there seems to be no more constraints on his behavior.  I believe it was Stephen Collins of CNN who said he has weaponized the Presidency by punishing his ‘enemies’—anyone who spoke against him.  Now he is freeing ‘criminal friends’ from their legal sentences.

It has been said by many Republicans that the Democrats have been prejudice against Trump since his inauguration.  It isn’t prejudice that motivates them but recognition that the man in power is unfit to rule.  His ‘winning’ frees him to continue to damage our Democracy.

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