In the midst of my joy over the beginning of accountability for wrongs done in association with January 6, I wrote last Wednesday, “O’ happy day!” And it was a happy day by reason of accountability. Let’s be clear, though, that this indictment of a former president is not one dimensional. Another dimension is fear.

I fear several things about this indictment. I fear that prosecuting Trump will galvanize hotheads to do stupid, destructive things, perhaps to attempt to use chaos and violence to take down our government, our freedoms and our rights. That’s been done more than once before.

I fear that a lone gunman, perhaps many lone gunmen, will kill and injure innocent people, including those who uphold our laws. They did that on January 6, so we know they won’t hesitate to attack cops.

And I fear that an extreme Trump supporter will slip into the jury and prevent justice from being done.

Another dimension to this indictment is the clarity that this is a profoundly proud moment for democracy.

This is how we declare to ourselves that there is no rule of one person, but that we are a nation of laws. This is how we say to those on the far right that while they proclaim that they are the true Americans, our rule of law flag is planted in the bedrock of justice and is what real Americans support. There is no need for anyone to like that or to agree. There simply is an absolute requirement for everyone to obey the law, not the rule of Trump.

Jack Smith and the members of his DOJ army are operating in a shooting gallery. They know that even as they stand for justice that they are at the center of the bulls eye of angry people. The death threats they’ve received haven’t stopped them and they remain willing to risk their lives for our Constitution and for We The People. So we stand with Jack Smith and his army because these heroes are standing for us.

Trump Supporters

There are millions of Trump supporters who are not dissuaded from their loyalty to him, even in the face of his well over 30,000 lies, his bumbling, our national debt exploding on his watch, his intentional estrangement of our allies, two impeachments and multiple felony indictments. That support seems curious to many of us so I’ve put some thought as to why they continue to follow and support him. Here’s a shopping list, pretty much off the top of my head.

  1. Many of these people are aggrieved for various disappointments felt as betrayals, a feeling of having been blown off, left behind by a government that simply doesn’t care about them. They aren’t entirely wrong about that. Think: offshoring of jobs encouraged by decades of government programs and policies that hollowed out whole towns. Because of that, they easily fall in line behind a defiant strongman, the “deep state” slayer. Leaving that line feels to them like going without a protector.
  2. Following and supporting Trump feels good, like they’re sticking it to the man who’s been sticking it to them for so long. Trump constantly models a middle finger for these folks and in that way they feel powerful.
  3. Leaving Trump would require people to admit:
    1. They were wrong to follow him. Nobody likes to say, “I was wrong.” Fonzie couldn’t say that at all.
    2. They were duped. Nobody likes to admit they were fooled.
    3. That the rule of law means more than the rule of Trump and that maybe intentional cruelty isn’t such a good idea.
  4. Conviction on felony charges would show Trump to be un-American, even anti-American. At that point, his followers would have to admit that following Trump made them un-American, a total betrayal to how they see themselves. That’s a nearly impossible trick to pull off.

The psychologists can craft a better, more  substantial list, but you get the picture. Leaving the support of Trump involves real loss for his staunch supporters and the various pains that go with doing that. It’s much easier and less painful to stay where they are and write yet another check payable to Trump.

So, cut these folks some slack in your comfortable judgement of them. They’re in a tough spot, albeit of their own making.

Focus instead on reaching those whose minds have not been enslaved and provide motivation to them to show up and vote.

BTW: Something is upside-down. Instead of we voters supporting candidates and elected officials, shouldn’t they be supporting and championing us?

Action Imperative

No vote is more urgent and important right now than Ohio Issue 1 in the election on August 8. The minority rule Republicans in the Ohio legislature have crafted a democracy killer of a bill. it’s a product of their brutality, as they seek to silence and dis-empower the majority of Ohio citizens. You know – the ones who believe in majority rule, aka democracy?

That bill would change the citizen ballot initiative process to require a 60% majority in order to pass a citizen ballot issue. A super majority. No more simple majority wins, the way we all were taught contests were supposed to be won. That would make it nearly impossible for citizens to stop the tyrannical minority Republican legislature. Voting for that bill is the equivalent of voters tightening a noose around their own necks. It would be volunteering to be electorally neutered, to have their democracy – rule by the people – killed.

This is anything but hyperbolic. Just one example: The Christian nationalists are all about forcing their views onto everyone else. Passing this bill would be a major stop toward the theocracy they hallucinate we’re supposed to be.

If you live in Ohio or know someone of voting age in Ohio or have ever been in Ohio and can remember the first name of someone you briefly met there, call, text or email them and urge them to


on Tuesday.

For more on the terrible danger this bill portends, read David Pepper’s essay detailing a meeting of the extremists who want to take all the power from Ohioans. Be clear that when they’re done there, they’re coming for you wherever you live.

Quote of the Week

From Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post, August 3:

Personally, I wish jurors could return a verdict that goes beyond “guilty as charged.” Maybe something like “guilty as hell.”

Quote of the Decade

From former Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL):

America is strong, but democracy is delicate. It depends on leaders who swear an oath to protect the sacred rights enshrined in our Constitution; it depends on citizens working to elect reasonable, ethical leaders; it depends on our brave men and women in uniform to defend it; and it depends on YOU, ME, ALL OF US putting our country over party. [emphasis original]

  • Today is a good day to be the light


  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!
  • The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

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2 Responses to Indictment
  1. Frank Levy Reply

    Jack – Like you I feel the most recent indictment of Trump on charges related to Jan 6, was a necessary moment for the survival of our fragile and imperfect democracy. I share the fears you enumerated in this essay It would be naive of me not to. But more, way more, than the fears you named, I fear that Trump will not be found guilty, and therefore not be held responsible for his crimes against democracy, the American people, voting rights, and The Constitution. And most of all, I fear what will happen in and to America if Trump is not found guilty, especially of the charges in this indictment.

  2. Joan Lindgren Reply

    I ALWAYS buy local and from small businesses. Done it for years! When it comes to Whole Foods, which just bought out our local mom and pop Blue Goose, I won’t consider buying from Whole Foods because it’s owned by Jeff Bezos and I refuse to make him richer!!