Why President Biden Should Not Pardon Trump
I have enormous respect for former FBI Director James Comey. He is a Republican. He is a father, a devoted husband, and a man I consider a patriot. However, he is not without fault, as we can all recall from the Hillary Clinton email fiasco that continues to haunt the country to this day, still, with no significant purpose other than to deflect and distract. He is also not without integrity, on which many of us can agree after reading his book
A Higher Loyalty, (2018). While Americans remain conflicted regarding his decision to leak confidential information which may or may not have influenced the 2016 election, very few Americans have ever questioned his patronage and loyalty to our country.
Mr. Comey is symbolic of the other 65% of Americans. He worked hard, received a good education, chose a profession, and worked his way through socioeconomic, political, and cultural systems to achieve a leadership role in one of the highest, if not the highest, law-enforcement offices of our nation. Mr. Comey successfully achieved the American dream and is a true reminder, to many, of what human integrity, albeit flawed, looks like.
It is that flawed human integrity which sometimes causes us to think, and sometimes even act, in a way that ultimately works against our own core values and the very fiber of our nation’s.
America is in this quagmire of an existence because many people from all corners of our country decided to do what felt good to them, what was easier for them, instead of what was right, for others.
We’ve become a culture that gives reward trophies to children who lose because we don’t want them to feel bad. Instead of teaching them how to do better and win next time.
We reward failure.
We shift professionals into positions that are more appropriate for their “skill set” after they’ve been identified as poor-performers. Educators are persuaded against issuing fairly earned failing grades because the school, district, parents, and students might ultimately suffer.
We’ve put the burden and responsibility of success on the mentors and have adapted a culture of rewarding unsuccessful mentees.
Those of us who teach our children that decisions and actions lead to consequences or rewards, and that learning and growing will be uncomfortable, often enjoy watching those children grow into conscious adults, adults aware of the fact that their actions will undoubtedly lead to results. Some desirable, some not so much, but ultimately their actions will lead to results none-the-less.
When we as parents do our jobs to the best of our ability, choosing to instill discipline, issue consequences and grant rewards over pacification and appeasement, we often raise children into adults who, ultimately, are cautious about their actions. Yes they will make mistakes. But they will learn from those mistakes, gradually becoming more conscientious and considering adults who make fewer mistakes and who live on purpose, with a sense of empathy and care.
The parents who raise their children to feel good, despite their children’s actions, the ones who are opposed to issuing the hard consequences that are necessary to develop empathy and a sense of accountability, are the ones who blindly witness their children become the Donald Trumps of the world.
When those children become adults, many of them will lead normal lives. They will not have an abundance of resources, money, power, or political clout. They will, however, have that same Trump mentality. The mentality that they deserve to have whatever they want. That they are unlike and therefore better than others. That they can do no wrong, no matter what they do. That they are entitled to and should get whatever they desire, simply because of who they are. If they don’t get those things, in their minds, it’s due to someone or something else. In their minds it is never due to their own decisions or their own actions.
These are the 35% and Donald Trump validates them.
He looks past their flaws. He looks past their mistakes.
He agrees with them. They have less because others are taking from them.
These “others” are often brown, from different countries, or are of a different religion or gender. The reason they don’t have what they are entitled to is never due to CEOs or business owners who own private planes. They work hard and achieve little, not because corporations use them to generate revenue and enormous wealth, but refuse to pay them a decent living wage for their work. Instead they could have more if only the immigrants and others weren’t taking from them.
They could have more if, not because they aren’t doing all they can, but if only other people would stop holding them down and holding them back.
Trump makes them feel good. The truth doesn’t matter. Other humans don’t matter. Even their own poverty, circumstances, and policies like the 2017 Tax Bill, affecting their very livelihoods don’t matter. The only thing that matters is that they see themselves in Trump. He talks like and to them. He doesn’t use those big fancy words. He tells them they are wonderful, great, and special. He too is the victim of the “they-s” of the world, just like his followers. He tells them that he he loves them. He creates a bond, a brotherhood with the “deplorables.” And if he loves them, a successful White man with a beautiful wife, beautiful ex-wives, handsome kids, a successful business, and his name on buildings and clothing, if he loves them, they can’t be bad people. They can’t be deplorable. It’s everyone else. It’s not them at all.
They are validated.
They are worthy.
Once a person is made to feel good about themselves, nothing else matters. This is what a number of us know as an Appeal to Flattery. It is a fallacy.
There is a big difference between a Trump supporter and a Trump voter. I’ve learned that over the years because I know many who have voted for Trump. Some of the most difficult conversations I’ve had with those I know, those who voted for him, have revealed some startling “selfs,” grave denials, and hurtful misconceptions, one of the biggest misconceptions is all he has done for the economy.
While I applaud Mr. Trump for not tanking what he inherited, I am not in denial about his “accomplishments” regarding Black unemployment, the economy, health care, or the justice system.
Americans had the opportunity to see what Mr. Trump’s presidential capabilities were when the country encountered the COVID-19 pandemic. That was Trump’s chance to shine. It was his chance to show the world his superb leadership abilities. That was his opportunity to be presidential. He failed. Whether we want to acknowledge those results with the reality and truth that they demand and deserve or not doesn’t matter. It is what it is.
The parents who raised Trump raised a man who avoids self-accountability. Whether it was their intention or not, the result is a man who relishes in compliments, attention, adornment, and avoids at all cost accountability and responsibility.
So now, just as all other entitled children that become entitled adults must experience, it is his time to learn accountability and responsibility the hard way.
My grandmother always said, “What I can’t teach you, society will.”
She was right. It is a universal and godly truth. What your parents can’t or don’t teach you, society will.
January 6, 2021 will forever go down in history as the day Americans encountered the undeniable consequences of “alternative” facts and the role American leaders play in influencing American citizens. After the hurtful, embarrassing, unprecedented, and unfathomable assault on our nation’s capital, many who had supported Trump drew a line in the cement.
It was no longer about politics. It was no longer about lies. It was no longer about red and blue. Suddenly and finally it was about the country. It was once again about America. And all eyes looked to Donald Trump.
As insurgents and domestic terrorists who decided to use violence against their own countrymen stormed their capital, they shouted
“Stop the Steal.”
We watched Trump’s family marvel in the sight of the insurgents who were “tired of the bullshit.”
We witnessed a woman shot for almost penetrating a representative’s office.
We lost a police officer.
We almost lost our Vice President, our Speaker of the House, and possibly other members of the House and Senate.
We saw Americans who had been lied to, who had been flattered into a false, self-serving reality, who had been used to do the dirty work of a millionaire, lose their livelihoods because a millionaire, ex-television reality star turned nation’s leader fed preyed on their vulnerabilities and used them as pawns in his one-man game and attempt to retain power.
On January 14, 2021, Mr. Comey shared his feelings that President Biden should consider pardoning Mr. Trump.
He is wrong.
Just like he was wrong in 2016. He is wrong now.
“What I can’t teach you, society will.”
It is time for Mr. Trump to learn the lessons he failed to learn as a child, teenager, young adult who was able to dodge the draft to serve his country, and as a president who purpose choose to only serve 35% of the nation’s population.
Mr. Comey was and is, wrong.