What Fani Willis has done in Georgia means that Donald Trump is finally not going to get away with his un-creative destruction of democracy in America

Aug 22nd, 2023 | By | Category: In Brief
Fani Willis at her shock-and-awe presentation on August 14, 2023.

NORTH AMERICAN NOTEBOOK. RANDALL WHITE, FERNWOOD PARK, TORONTO . TUESDAY, AUGUST 22, 2023. There have been, I think, two main channels in my deep attraction to Fani Willis’s “Overwhelming Show of Force…Shock and Awe” fourth Indictment of Donald Trump, for his Georgia misdeeds in the 2020 US presidential election.

The first channel is just Ms Willis herself as I have seen her on TV — dressed in “you can’t go wrong with basic black and pearls,” neatly summarizing the crux of a complex case against Mr (or if you must former President) Trump and 18 other individuals, when she finally made her presentation after the “indictment handed down Monday [August 14] by a grand jury in Atlanta.”

The second channel is the way Ms Willis has used especially Georgia’s state racketeering law (RICO or Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law) to frame Trump’s illegal and unconstitutional conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Whatever else, this seems to me to focus on what it is about Trump that is most deadly for American democracy. He is a kind of upscale thug or even more exactly a racketeer — a leader of what I believe Ms Willis called in her public presentation a “racketeering enterprise”! That kind of leader can never be an acceptable president of the United States of America.

“Portrait of Ghost with Hat” by Michael Seward, August 2023.

To let Trump get away with the kind of destruction of the free and democratic USA (or just “Democracy in America” in de Tocqueville’s historic phrase) that he has so mindlessly toyed with since the fateful fall of 2016 would only tragically poison the future of America and (as my wife reminded me just last night) even of the world at large.

With what Fani Willis has now done in Fulton County, Georgia I have somehow come to feel that, in the very end, Donald Trump is not going to get away with the recurrent “you’re-fired”-tin-pot dictator abuses of power that made a joke and sometimes much worse of American politics for four long years — and that continue to raise international (and even national!) doubts about the near future of US leadership in world politics (and even economics!).

Having said all this, I continue to respect the views of the 74,222,958 people or 46.8% of the active electorate who did vote for Donald Trump in 2020. The number is quite clearly smaller than the 81,283,098 people or 51.3% who voted for Joe Biden. But almost 47% of the people who cared to vote remains a large number — especially when “Voter turnout in 2020 was the highest in 120 years … measured as a percentage of the voting-eligible population: 66.7 percent.”

As noted recently elsewhere, I have lately been impressed by Oxford ancient historian Josephine Quinn’s remarks about how “Christian evangelicals in the United States sometimes like to identify the ancient Persian emperor Cyrus the Great with Donald Trump. Both are vessels for God’s plan on earth.”

Ms. Quinn stresses that “obviously” neither Trump nor Cyrus are “Christian” or “would score highly on a morality test.” But (I went on myself) “Cyrus allegedly made the world safer for the nation of Israel,” just “because this fit his broader power mongering. And some Christian evangelicals in the United States believe that Donald Trump can do the same for an America that makes more room for them.”

I do think the size of the Trump vote in 2020 almost inevitably must point to some flaws in current US (and no doubt other, including Canadian) definitions of the progressive agenda or cause or project or whatever. And this is something we progressive people ought to be quietly pondering over the next while.

At the same time, it finally seems to me that Donald Trump has nothing substantive to do with this issue himself. Regardless of where you stand on some, eg, progressive vs. conservative continuum, Donald Trump finally is someone who does not belong in any kind of free and democratic government. — as Liz Cheney and many others have long been trying to urge upon their fellow conservatives.

Some people I know are starting to say that they think Fani Willis’s Grand Jury indictment of Mr. Trump over his 2020 election misdeeds in Georgia will eventually be changing a lot of minds, especially among Independents. I am personally ready to start praying that this is right. (Though, reading this latest Ron Brownstein piece on “Why Republican voters believe Trump” also makes me think I’m going to have to pray a lot harder than usual!)

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