Zaleski: Law and order party no more
"How is it that leaders and lemmings in 'the law and order party' are attacking the nation’s premier law enforcement agency for doing its job?" asks Jack Zaleski. "If Republicans believe in the rule of law, they should also believe that no one, not even a former president, is above the law."
Here’s an axiom: Anyone who cozies up to Donald Trump will go to jail or have their reputation shredded, or both. The roster of shame gets longer every day.
I am at a loss as to why so many allegedly patriotic Republicans continue to be in thrall of the most corrupt, most lawless president in American history. How is it that leaders and lemmings in “the law and order party” are attacking the nation’s premier law enforcement agency for doing its job? That is, the FBI’s lawful search for stolen classified documents at the former president’s Florida palace — an action that was vetted by the Department of Justice and approved by a federal judge. If Republicans believe in the rule of law, they should also believe that no one, not even a former president, is above the law.
How is it that Trumpkins are not troubled that a few days ago their leader took the 5th Amendment some 400 times during an investigation of yet another one of his shady shenanigans? Resorting to the 5th is just short of admitting guilt. The text says no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself...” No criminal case. The implication is obvious: The 45th President knows he’s guilty of a crime.
Trump’s blinder-clad worshipers should at least be chagrined that for the first time in U.S. history a former president, who is under an unprecedented storm of legal clouds, has skedaddled behind the 5th Amendment like a Mafia don. But they are not. Instead, they’ve attacked the judiciary, law enforcement and the majority of Americans who know the rule of law should be above cultish politics. Firmly ensconced in the cult: North Dakota Senators Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven, Rep. Kelly Armstrong, and Minnesota 7th District Rep. Michelle Fischbach. You’ll find no profiles in courage in that quartet. The party of law and order? Not so much.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s call for some sort of state-ordered “opportunity” for local government boards to recite the Pledge of Allegiance is political pandering at its worst. Burgum’s newfound concern comes after the Fargo School Board rescinded a stupid decision made in March to open board meetings with the Pledge. When new board members were elected in June, the board reversed the decision. Within hours, bumper sticker patriots were in full croak. The faux patriots (including two soundly defeated school board candidates) cranked up their phony indignation and took it to talk radio and newspaper opinion columns. “Part of a plot to remove God from public education,” they brayed. What a crock. It was a no-win quagmire for board members, who have been targets of vile hate mail, as revealed in Jim Shaw’s Thursday column in The Forum.
As for the Pledge: As written in 1895, it’s a beautiful statement of patriotism. The text is lyrical, clear and easily memorized. It’s a powerful and appropriate reminder of American ideals. However, the pledge as recited today is not the original wording. The problematic “under God” phrase was inserted by Congress in 1954 during the Eisenhower administration, more for political gain than for genuine patriotism. Like Burgum’s cynical stunt.
Zaleski retired in 2017 after 30 years as The Forum’s editorial page editor. He is the author of a new history of Forum Communications Company . Contact him at email@example.com or 701-241-5521 or 701-566-3576.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.