Strait Talk

Sid Schwab
4 min readSep 7, 2022

Though everything President Joe Biden said last week in “The Speech” was true, he could have put it better. “Fascists. They are fascists. Not all of them… but we are getting closer. We have to win this election.”

Oops, sorry. That was Trump, two years ago.

So let’s not feel sorry for MAGA Republicans. They threaten democracy exactly as President Biden described. Their hurt comes from hearing truth from a presidential podium, rather than the lies they’ve lapped for years. What Trump campaigned and “governed” on was purposefully divisive. He’s still at it.

Oh, but Joe said he wouldn’t. Right. Before seeing MAGA Republicans dismantle, brick by brick, the walls protecting voting rights, Constitutional rights, public education, elections; while they build one around their lawless leader.

But President Biden could have made it less of a campaign speech. Knowing his words would send MAGA Republicans into elephantine dudgeon, he reached beyond them, positing (questionably) that most Republicans aren’t so extreme and anti-democracy. If his intent was to convince those people (enough of them to defeat candidates who promote Trumpism, such as refusing to say Biden won fairly, which includes one from our state), he could have left out the list of accomplishments, impressive though they are. Made it exclusively about real, not-Trumpic patriotism, democracy, and the now-or-never need to rise above partisanship.

As MAGA Republicans continue to nominate election-denying, regressive candidates, real conservatives must recognize the need to stand against the party. For America. For now. Even if only this once. Send the message that Trumpism is poisonous to conservatism.

President Biden’s speech was divisive only to those who don’t share his commitment to preserving American democracy. Will not-oxymoronic “reasonable Republicans” do what’s needed? We’ll see. Not if right-wing media and current R leaders hold sway. Their tears insult crocodiles everywhere.

Which, in a non-sequitur sort of way, brings us to the historically consequential question our country, our democracy, and our Constitution will soon face: to indict or not, the Fifth-pleading (like his family and lawyers), undeniably law-breaking and, as facts are revealed, not-impossibly treasonous former “president.”

Ominously, documents seized by the FBI included details about another country’s (Israel?) defenses and nuclear capabilities. Wouldn’t Trump’s Saudi pals love that?

Any other public employee would already be in jail. He misappropriated sensitive documents. Lied about it. Kept them unsecured. Obstructed a legally-warranted investigation.

And now it appears Trump still has more, somewhere. Shared — could it be? — with our adversaries? He does have a history. And what about those empty folders, marked as having contained classified material? Coincidence or not, since Trump departed D.C., a record number of US overseas operatives have been compromised, arrested, or killed.

Recognizable to anyone not employed or deceived by rightwing media, or not an elected Republican, Trump engaged in criminal behavior. Guilt isn’t’ the question; what to do about it is. Like movie mobsters, Trump, Lindsey Graham, et sycophanti, warn of riots in the streets. Rioters who’d include Trumpists who called BLM a terrorist movement and decried the violence that accompanied some of their rallies; much of which, according to the FBI, was instigated by rightwing infiltrators. Compared to what Trump’s well-armed, flak-jacketed, lawbreaker-lovers would attempt to deliver, BLM was nothing.

Even without rioting, indicting Trump would stir righteous but wrongeous anger; the viewer-attracting outrage from Tucker and his similars would be red-hot. “How dare liberals enforce our laws? We, not they, decide which ones are breakable, and by whom. Because we’re the law and order party. Like that Special Master ruling: Trump’s judges work for us.”

For any non-MAGA, historically conservative Republican, it’s a brainer. If anyone commits crimes that put at risk or actually compromise national security and isn’t indicted, our laws mean nothing. This especially applies to a “president,” because presidents are above the law only in the dictatorships Trump loves. Prosecution would be like chemotherapy for America: a challenging, worrisome, unpleasant, but necessary process to rid the body politic of a cancer. There’s too much at stake not to. If riots there be, and painful disruptions, no matter how transiently destructive, when the blood dries there will have been cleansing. “But no president has ever been indicted,” say the adulators. “It’s deep-state overreach.” Well, unprecedented begets unprecedented.

Indict him. If a jury agrees, convict him. Then, in deference to his brief, rejected “presidency,” slap on an ankle monitor and confine him to Mar-a-Lago. Golf course excluded. For the moment, though, as he’s demanding immediate reinstatement as “president” and pushing Qanon conspiracies on his “Truth (anti-)Social” platform, the more pressing question is whether he ought to be restrained and medicated, for his own good.

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Sid Schwab

Retired surgeon. Published author. Blogger. Columnist. Losing hope that American democracy can survive Republican attempts to end it.