Unfortunately, lying, nepotism, lack of transparency, psychological pathology, breaking laws, and abuse of power are all deviant behaviors that are currently being practiced by elected members of the executive and legislative branches of our government. Because of the culture of extreme partisanship fueled by the Republican party, normalizing these behaviors has corrupted our democracy and threatened its survival. Democrats are not above corruption, but as a party, they are proactive at rejecting members of their caucus who are found to have behaved illegally or unethically. The problem with the majority and minority leadership positions are those who inhabit these offices tend to have one goal in mind; STAY UNITED IN THE PURSUIT OF POWER AT ALL COSTS. The problems inherent in that goal are;
- It changes the alliance from constituents of individual states to the agenda of the party leader
- It creates a power-hungry, ego-competitive environment that changes the focus away from the needs of the people to the political games of politicians
- It reduces the power of the individual voices of senators and congressmen
- It gives strength to one person as to what bills are allowed to be introduced for discussion and a vote
- It increases the odds of corruption, placing the outcome of legislation on the mental health and character of one person.
The US Constitution says, ” no one is above the law.” However, because of a Department of Justice policy, presidents are considered not indictable while in office. Although most presidents are not dangerously psychologically impaired, we have learned by the election of Donald Trump that a sociopathic narcissist can capture a segment of the population that doesn’t recognize the danger these personality traits pose and care more about political power than democracy and decency.
Some of the dangers of the DOJ policy that a sitting president cannot be criminally indicted are;
- Potentially corrupt alliances compromise national security from our enemies
- Violations of the laws in the Constitution by a president change democracy into an autocracy
- Damage to the economic strength of the country due to a corrupt, financially motivated abuse of power
- Misuse of the military for political gains or revenge
- Normalizing and modeling aberrant, criminal behavior to the public and potentially increasing criminal behaviors in the general population
Presidential pardons are designed to forgive people of their crimes if they have “‘paid their debt to society” and have apologized, admitted their wrongdoing, and are repentant. Donald Trump perverted the power of the pardon by using it to free criminal friends and political cronies. He signaled to convicted felons Paul Manifort and Roger Stone that he would pardon them if they stayed loyal to him. The abuse of the pardon power can be used as a form of obstruction of justice in investigations against a president. Trump used pardons to prevent people from flipping on him. Why would someone be so afraid of flipping if they have nothing to hide?
The release of tax returns by presidential candidates has become the norm. Doing so builds trust and transparency in the person running for office. Since the 1970s, presidents have released their taxes. The issue of presidential tax returns began with Richard Nixon when it was discovered that Nixon paid only $800 on his earnings of $200,000. Nixon reluctantly released his taxes, President Ford resisted but, under pressure, released a summary of his returns, and President Jimmy Carter released his total returns. However, Donald Trump, the liar-in-chief, promised to do so but never did. The New York district attorney took the case to obtain his taxes to the Supreme court, wherein a 7-2 vote, the court ruled a president is not immune from releasing their taxes if there is legal cause to obtain them. Trump has often existed compared to Nixon for their similar patterns of lying and corruption. Finally, after Trump’s appointee for Attorney General William Barr, corrupted and abused the power of his office, it has become apparent that constraints need to be put in place to control any corrupt political motivations of future AGs. Barr’s tenure in office was so egregious, motivated by his belief in the supreme power of a president, his behaviors in the office are being scrutinized by thousands of legal experts, the Bar Association in DC, and the American people.A new generation of members of Congress is laser-focused on re-evaluating loopholes in the Constitution that have allowed corruption to permeate our government, especially in the executive branch. These younger lawmakers, especially those in the Democratic party, give hope to the end of the type of corruption that Donald Trump got away with for so many years!