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THOMPSON: Donald Trump's obituary will be the final word

January 29, 2024 - 12:00 PM

 


OPINION


The thing about being villainous is…you can never escape it. That’s why it’s an obituary that seals anyone’s legacy. So, regardless of how Donald Trump and those who support him continue to lie to us and to themselves…ultimately his obituary will be the final word.

Death is the exit strategy for all of us…though not everyone is famous or infamous enough to have a widely published obituary. Here - from sometime in the future - are words that could forever colour how Donald Trump is remembered.

Donald J. Trump - the twice-impeached 45th president of the United States - who was charged and convicted of (fill in the blank) racketeering felonies after leaving the White House, died today.

But, back to today, and facts…where things actually stand. To be clear, I’m not wishing an early natural death on anyone, not even anyone as despicable as the leader of insurrectionists against America.

The January 6 Committee’s four criminal referrals to the Department of Justice unequivocally said, “Donald Trump hatched a scheme that would have defrauded Americans of their sacred right to have their vote count.”

The Committee’s unprecedented referrals suggested Trump not only violated his oath to the U.S. Constitution, but also committed a series of indictable crimes.

Specifically, the Committee alleged Trump “violated U.S. law by corruptly… obstructing, influencing or impeding an official proceeding, or attempting to do so.” That official proceeding was Congress’ joint session to count electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021.

Further, the Committee said Trump “conspired either to commit an offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States.” Also, the committee said that Trump “made false statements in matters involving the federal government and conspired against the government.”

Finally, the Committee said Trump “incited, set on foot, assisted, or engaged in a rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gave aid or comfort to those who took part.”

The Department of Justice doesn’t have to prosecute referrals from Congress. But, quite frankly, to overlook such breaches of law would have undermined the U.S. Constitution and the Rule of Law no less than Trump’s alleged transgressions.

I believe Special Prosecutor Jack Smith weighed the evidence and charged Trump appropriately.

Of course, the scariest part of this entire insurrection and conspiracy is that if only a few more of the wrong people had been in place as Secretaries of State or in the Department of Justice and the White House…Americans would not have a freely elected democracy today.

I’ve read all of the evidence presented in the various indictments against Trump…and there’s little doubt he’s guilty in each case. Whether four juries convict him of all counts - 91 counts - is at this point guesswork. All it takes for a mistrial is one MAGA supporter on a jury to overlook evidence…and that could happen. But it won’t likely happen in all four cases.

It is almost unfathomable to most Americans that enough folks would vote for Trump to elect him in 2024, but he’s the front runner. That’s how unhinged the Republican Party has become. There has never been a candidate for president in any party who has been indicted for a felony…even once…much less four times like Trump. And yet, people - in cult-like fashion - follow Trump.

What they seem to have in common…and I have talked to a lot of Trump fans…is a complete lack of understanding of issues facing the nation and world. They only care about one thing…what Democrats - the woke Liberals - support…because as they proclaim: “I’m against it!”

Increasingly, these not-so-literate folks say they believe in the Constitution - or a perverse interpretation of it - but not so much in Democracy. It’s almost as though they confuse the words Democrat and Democracy.

They do not trust any government institution…they believe evil people control the Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service, The Environmental Protection Agency, The National Institutes of Health…you name it.

They have listened to Right Wing extremists for so long, they’ve bought into the lies that these evil government folks - woke Democrats and Liberals - are robbing, stealing and cheating them out of what they are due…because it’s all going to unworthy minorities, immigrants and women.

Anyone with a sense of history realizes Trump is channeling Adolph Hitler to appeal to the ignorant. Trump has said “illegal immigration is poisoning the blood” of the nation. Hitler called Jews “vermin”…exactly what Trump calls Democrats.

Just over one hundred years ago, in 1923, Hitler attempted a coup…the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich…and he was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison for treason…serving just nine months. Less than nine years later, Hitler was Chancellor of Germany.

Trump and his minions don’t merely parrot Hitler’s rhetoric…they follow his strategy of turning followers against people and institutions. Substitute Jews with immigrants and use the same undermining of the government…and the link is clear.

Donald Trump - and a host of other Republicans - will be found guilty of crimes associated with Jan. 6. However, it won’t matter to the MAGA anti-citizens. They will lionize Trump - rallying white supremacists, anti-abortionists, misogynists and the large group of largely ignorant - and embrace fiction over fact…fascism over democracy.

Last week, in the New Hampshire Republican primary, Trump praised Hungarian strongman Viktor Orban…to rousing applause. Trump has been positioning the need to accept strongman authoritarian rule in America for years.

A huge segment of the ignorant American public made Bonnie and Clyde and Al Capone and Billy the Kid anti-heroes. Folks convinced themselves that these crooks did what they did to help others...the downtrodden. It was for a greater good…rather than a selfish money-grab for themselves. The MAGA cult is doing the same with Trump.

Regardless, even ignorance eventually dies. The sons and daughters of these misled Republicans will scratch their heads and wonder what their parents and grandparents ever saw in Trump and the rest of the fascists in today’s Republican Party.

Obituaries always get the last word. And unlike human beings who have to die…truth, freedom and democracy can - and I believe - will live on.

— Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines.


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