Opinion: Happy Indictment Day … now let’s fix our democracy


In the last episode of the first season of “Daredevil,” there’s this great montage of arrests as the Kingpin’s empire falls. The FBI swoops down, and you see all the crooked cops, corrupt politicians, and henchmen belonging to the New York City crime lord collected like garbage. It is, in the context of that Netflix superhero drama, a very satisfying moment.

In the context of real life, it would be even more so. That’s what accounts for the glee with which the likes of Keith Olbermann and Ava DuVernay began retweeting over the weekend a clip first posted to YouTube in August. In it, a talented someone calling themselves 1oneclone repurposes the “Daredevil” montage to devastating effect.

In the new clip, it’s Michael Flynn, not some mobster, hauling you-know-what with an army of FBI men in hot pursuit. Steve Bannon is led out with his hands cuffed behind him as James Comey gazes on in quiet satisfaction. Kellyanne Conway is still chattering as she is arrested. And there goes the big man himself, jaw jutting pugnaciously, as he is hauled away.

The clip is — no pun intended — a marvel. And it neatly captured the mood on much of social media as people awaited Monday, when, according to CNN, the first fruits of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into the Trump administration would be unsealed. Folks dubbed it a spontaneous holiday: Indictment Day.

Well, Indictment Day did not disappoint, bringing a 12-count bill of charges against former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and adviser Rick Gates, albeit for money laundering and other alleged crimes with no known connection to the failed president. More ominous for Trump, though, was news that an obscure adviser, George Papadopoulos, had earlier secretly pleaded guilty to charges of lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts and was cooperating with the investigation.

So Indictment Day may soon come around again.

Not to kill the joy of that possibility, but a reminder seems prudent here. Even if Indictment Day comes a dozen times more, even if the man himself is felled, none of it changes what needs changing.

In March of 2016, I wrote about what America should do “after Trump.” Got much of it wrong, including downplaying the possibility of his election. But one thing said then holds up: Trump is a product of fear, intolerance, incoherence and ignorance. And those things would survive him.

After all, they grew strong and bold in recent years as some of us made expedient decisions to which morality was a stranger. Exhibit A: the Republican Party’s choice to embrace an ethos of chaos — think tea party mobs and birth certificate lies — because it was politically useful. And to ignore the damage this wrought.

Now we’re paying the price for that short-sightedness. And after Trump, assuming America isn’t a nuclear wasteland or two countries by then — possibilities that seem less remote than they once did — confronting the forces that brought us here must be Job One for faith leaders, news media, activists and educators. Indeed, all people of conscience will have a simple mission: Drive fear, intolerance, incoherence and ignorance off the main stage of American politics.

It is, yes, gratifying to see a video where all this president’s men and women are carted away by the feds. It is even more gratifying to see them face the music in real life.

What ails us, though, will be fixed not by indictments, but by engagement and education. It will take time. And truth is, “after Trump” is too long to wait.

So, I hope you enjoyed Indictment Day. Now, let’s get back to work.

Writes for The Miami Herald.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

READERS WRITE: APR. 25

Medical oversight of cannabis oil would help patients In response to a doctor’s comments on the Georgia CBD Oil Registry (“Medical marijuana poses unregulated risk to state’s kids,” Readers Write, April 10), I can appreciate his concerns about patient safety. I would argue, however, that the law is a much-needed step in the...
Opinion: What if Trump really did ‘shoot someone on 5th Avenue?”

By JESS KIDDEN WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans and conservative leaders rallied around President Trump Friday, attempting to minimize political damage after Trump shot down a man in the middle of Fifth Avenue in New York City. “I’m not going to put myself in the position of having to respond to every presidential shooting,&rdquo...
Opinion: Educational fraud continues

Earlier this month, the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, aka The Nation’s Report Card, was released. It’s not a pretty story. Only 37 percent of 12th-graders tested proficient or better in reading, and only 25 percent did so in math. Among black students, only 17 percent tested proficient or better in reading, and just...
READERS WRITE: APR. 24

Facebook users’ privacy expectations are naive and disingenuous The object of Facebook is to connect members to their “friends,” to provide a format to share and expose the most intimate details of their lives. Facebook members post their photos and videos. They lament about romances. They post recipes and tout products they use and...
Opinion: Paul Ryan is the ultimate party man

The mistake about Paul Ryan, the one that both friends and foes made over the years between his Obama-era ascent and his just-announced departure from the House speakership, was to imagine him as a potential protagonist for our politics, a lead actor in the drama of conservatism, a visionary or a villain poised to put his stamp upon the era. This Ryan-of-the-imagination...
More Stories