Is The US Still A Nation Of Laws?

If so, Congress has no choice but to begin the impeachment process now.

Trump committed obstruction of justice – not just in private by ordering his underlings to fire Mueller – but in public by calling the investigation a witch hunt. He suborned perjury by stating that he would “take care of” those who refused to testify against him and by calling those who did “rats.” He has ignored the Constitution’s emoluments clause by using his Washington DC hotel to profit from foreign leaders, foreign citizens and lobbyists. And he obviously requested then accepted and benefited from property stolen by Russian hackers.

If those actions don’t rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” it’s difficult to imagine what does.

Nixon resigned under threat of impeachment for ordering the break-in of the Democratic office and resorting to obstruction of justice in order to cover it up. Clinton was impeached for accepting oral sex from an intern and lying about it. Are those crimes worse than accepting property stolen from a political opponent by a hostile nation and obstructing justice by attempting to prevent an investigation into the matter?

Since Trump began his campaign to win the most powerful office in the world, we have seen him refuse to reveal his tax returns unlike most other presidential candidates since Nixon. We have heard him brag about sexual assault. We have discovered that he had an extramarital affair with a porn star and a centerfold model then illegally paid for their silence. We heard from more than a dozen women, including one who was underage, that Trump had sexually assaulted them. We learned that Trump had been a regular guest at Jeffrey Epstein’s parties before Epstein was convicted of trafficking underage girls for sex. And we learned that a tabloid managed by a Trump friend practiced “catch and kill” to bury unflattering stories about Trump.

Despite Trump’s claims that he had nothing to do with Russia, we heard his sons brag that the family business gets all the financing it needs from Russians. We learned that Trump’s lawyer had continued to negotiate a deal for Trump Tower Moscow even after the 2016 election. We learned that much of Trump’s income comes from real estate sales to Russian oligarchs – likely as a means of laundering money. We’ve seen Trump’s campaign manager, his personal attorney, his national security advisor and others associated with his campaign arrested and convicted. And we learned of more than 100 contacts between members of the Trump campaign and Russians.

We watched Trump settle a lawsuit that his Trump Foundation defrauded donors. We saw him settle claims that his Trump “university” defrauded students. We learned that he and his siblings engaged in tax fraud in order to avoid paying millions on their inheritance. And we learned that his name was mentioned in the Panama Papers – a leak of those involved in offshore tax havens – 3,540 times. (Not surprisingly, his good friend Vladimir Putin was also named.)

We have seen reports of millions in donations missing from the Trump Inaugural Committee. We have learned that the former owner of an illicit massage parlor in Florida is a regular at Mar-a-Lago and helped raise funds from Chinese nationals for Trump’s campaign – funds that weren’t reported and cannot be accounted for.

We have listened to thousands of lies told by Trump and his administration since he took office. (It has been documented that roughly 70 percent of the statements Trump makes are false!) We have seen him appoint the most corrupt and unqualified cabinet in history. We have watched him appoint dozens of unqualified and ideological judges to lifetime positions. We have watched the unraveling of environmental, financial and safety regulations. We have witnessed his racism and his apologies for violent white nationalists. We have watched as his administration ripped immigrant children from their parents and housed them in cages. We have seen his administration veto a UN resolution that would hold war criminals accountable and force a change in another UN resolution that will result in the denial of abortions to girls who have been raped as a military tactic. We have read his Tweets promoting violence against a black Muslim congresswoman. And we have seen Trump cozy up to some of the world’s worst dictators while, at the same time, turning a cold shoulder to our longest-standing and most loyal allies.

How many more crimes must Congress see before taking action? How many more despicable acts?

Does Trump really have to shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, as he once bragged he could, to be held accountable for his actions? Would not any other resident of the US be charged and convicted for just one of the many crimes committed by Trump?

A woman in Texas is serving a 5-year prison sentence for not realizing that she was ineligible to vote. Yet Barr and the DOJ have let Trump and other members of his campaign off the hook for supposedly not knowing that it was against the law to undermine our electoral process by accepting help from a hostile nation. What happened to the long-standing legal principle that ignorance of the law is no excuse?

Throughout our nation’s history, we have operated according to the principle that no one is above the law. So far, that has not applied to the Teflon Don and his crime family.

Rethinking Our National Motto.

“E Pluribus Unum” (Out of many, one) was the motto chosen to represent our nation in 1776. It was suggested by Pierre Eugene du Simitiere to the committee responsible for developing the Great Seal of the United States. It not only gave reference to the fact that our country was born out of 13 separate colonies, it represented the great diversity of the new nation. Unfortunately, Christian conservatives, capitalizing on the fear of a “Godless” communist Cold War opponent, voted to replace the motto in 1956 with “In God We Trust.”

The message it sends is dramatically different.

Does it really matter? After all, it’s only four words. The answer to that question is, most definitely, yes. You see, I worked in the advertising industry for more than 40 years. Much of that time, I was charged with creating mottos or slogans – a few words that clearly define a brand. That’s what the motto does. It defines the brand of the United States, suggesting that we are governed by faith (I would describe it as blind faith) over reason. How else can you explain the indifference of so many toward issues such as climate change and gun violence? These are not matters for God. These are problems caused by human behavior. And they are problems that we, as humans, must solve. They are problems that require an understanding of science, logic and reason. Unfortunately, too many seem to believe that such problems are too big or too complex for us to solve. They choose to ignore the problems, believing that if we pray hard enough, God will solve the problems for us.

Our Founding Fathers would not have done so. Prioritizing enlightenment and reason over blind faith, they chose to take matters into their own hands – to create their own destiny. If they had left it up to prayer alone, we would still be part of the British Empire. The Founders were also sensitive toward people of many faiths. That’s why the Declaration of Independence never actually refers to God in the traditional sense choosing, instead, to use more inclusive words such as “Creator” and “Nature’s God” – choices that could encompass people of all faiths, as well as those who belonged to no church at all. Neither did the Founders mention God in the Constitution – likely because many of them were, in fact, deists (people who believe in a higher power, but disdain organized religion).

E Pluribus Unum was all-encompassing. It told the world that the United States of America embraces all cultures, and that we could all work together for a common goal. By contrast, the current slogan implies that, if you do not believe in God – the approved Judeo-Christian God – you are somehow less of an American.

Given the divisiveness that has permeated every aspect of the American experience, reclaiming the original motto would help us reclaim our identity. It would show that all Americans count; that we are willing to pull together for the common good.

Sometimes the best way to move forward is to first take a step back.