The push back has been furious as it has been stridently consistent. From the din which is being cooked up over this, it is clear that a major vein has been touched – nay, more like karate chopped on the collective psyche of the establishment. A major news network, CNN, to be precise, has said it will be “setting a dangerous precedent” and even the person, Hillary Clinton, who is the direct target of the statement said during a recent interview with Mother Jones, that any attempt to prosecute her for her wrongdoings would be “such an abuse of power” and “like some dictatorship, like some authoritarian regime.”
The bone of contention here is a statement made, and repeated often, by President Donald Trump beginning from when he was a presidential candidate running against Hillary Clinton, and continuing since he has been elected president. The statement is that Hillary Clinton should be tried and put in jail for some alleged crimes she committed while holding the post of Secretary of State of the United States.
I strongly agree that that is a very odd statement to make within the context of the political landscape of the United States because this is a country where everything that would be classified as corruption in all other countries of the world have been made legal by the people we elect to our government. That being the case, it is quite odd to hear someone talk about putting a United States government official on trial for corrupt practices. To start with, you would find that every statute you would use to try and bring them to justice is probably covered under “lobbying” which is the term used to legalize bribery.
Be that as it may, I still find the brazen nature of the push back in the media on the notion that an ex government official should be tried and jailed for crimes committed while in office, very surprising. If the push back was to say that the alleged crimes weren’t committed, it would be understood as the media trying to defend the accused, and could be construed to be the quite common trial by the press, but it wasn’t. The push back is on the idea of an official being held accountable for acts committed in government office.
That is surprising because it makes it sound like the media is pushing the idea that government officials are above the law and beyond reproach, and there is a palpable air of indignation about the protest, as if to say, how dare you. Why would trying an ex government official for crimes committed while in office be termed to be “setting a dangerous precedent?”
This piece is not about the individuals at the center of the controversy, but about all of our political office holders and our ability as a country to hold them accountable for their actions while in office representing us. It is not about Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, but about our other past officials like Bushes, Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney and the many others who have been in office and done many things which we question today. It is about the accountability it would take to make our government and its officials responsible and responsive to us.
It must, therefore, be worrying for every American to hear the people who are supposed to be our watchdogs in the media seriously suggesting that trying to hold our officials accountable would be setting a dangerous precedent. It must be as worrying to hear the officials themselves suggest that attempting to hold them accountable would be an “abuse of power” and something a “dictatorship” or an “authoritarian regime” would do. That’s just so Orwellian the way it is being suggested that dictators who abuse power are the only ones who are interested in government accountability.
Orwellian, yes, but that is the argument that is being made now by the establishment as the reason why our ex government officials should not be held accountable. Do you agree that an attempt to hold a corrupt government official accountable by trying and jailing them, if found guilty is setting a dangerous precedent, and why?