By Michael P. Riccards
My late mother had a cousin who lost his life on Iwo Jima during the second world war. He was 20 and probably never had a sweetheart My sister insisted we find where he was buried. It wasn’t in the Pacific. It wasn’t at Arlington. It was a small military cemetery in South Jersey. Last week, I thought of him as the Trumpites attacked the center of democracy on behalf of a draft-dodging thug engaged in sedition against my government.
Lincoln preached peace with mercy. But he was killed by one of those who would have benefited. His successor pardoned without reason the entire confederate hierarchy, and they went back to conduct a scorched earth Jim Crow regime in the southern states
Now we ask ourselves what to do with Trump. Can he pardon himself? I don’t think that the founding fathers, so revered by conservatives today, would have recognized such a practice. Pardons were acts of mercy not escape hatches for evil leaders. They warned of guys like Trump. They called them tyrants and feared the ties they had to demagogues.
Luckily our tyrant is fairly stupid. But supposed he led the mob to the capitol? Suppose he ordered troops to follow the commander-in-chief? Suppose he created a nuclear episode? That is no so far fetched. Kennedy nearly drove us to war over Cuba. Carter was smart enough to override our nuclear warnings and not order retaliation this is serious stuff. It ain’t an Tucker Carlson television special.
What to do with a corrupt executive? No one should expect a boot-licking vice president to call the cabinet together under the 25th Amendment, so we are left with impeachment, which will be decided after inaugural. I don’t care for convictions after a person leaves office. We look like Guatemala. But there must be a serious rebuke to sedition. We must lay before the world that we remain a people of law. And we have to reintegrate millions of fellow citizens who are economically marginalized. It is time. boys, to lay aside your guns and ammunition and breed children who once again love the constitution.
Michael P. Riccards, a former college president. is the author of 30 books, including a two-volume history of the presidency, The Ferocious Engine of Democracy, and the recently published Woodrow Wilson as Commander-in-Chief.