These convictions are more than just a victory for the Department of Justice — they are an encouraging sign for the future of American democracy.
For our republic to endure, attempts to overturn a free and fair election by force must be thwarted and their perpetrators held accountable.
The Irish orator and attorney John Philpot Curran once said: “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.” This statement has been abbreviated to some variation of eternal vigilance is the price of liberty by a number of American political figures.
It’s still meaningful today: it’s one of those true and timeless maxims.
We can’t be complacent about the future of our democracy. We can’t take our freedoms for granted. We saw what happened on January 6th, 2021.
We learned from the subsequent investigation conducted by the House Select Committee how close the insurrectionist mob incited by Donald Trump came to finding Vice President Mike Pence and other members of Congress after forcibly smashing their way into the Capitol, our temple of liberty.
While justice has been served to many of Trump’s underlings since that tragic and frightening day, Trump himself has yet to be held accountable.
Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans unforgivably made sure that Trump was acquitted two years ago for his crimes — leaving Trump free to run for President again, which he is doing right now. Special Counsel Jack Smith is investigating Trump’s conduct, but has not yet brought any charges.
Legal experts told The Post they believe today’s convictions will be helpful:
“The verdict empowers the special counsel to bring indictments for the efforts to overturn the election,” said New York University law professor Ryan Goodman. “It underscores the enormous stakes in mobilizing Americans to believe the Big Lie and directing an armed crowd to interfere with the congressional proceedings.”
The convictions mark “an important milestone on the journey to accountability for the perpetrators of the insurrection on January 6, 2021 … showing that political violence and attacks on our democratic institutions will be taken seriously by our justice system and will not be tolerated by the American people,” said Lindsay Schubiner, director of programs at Western States Center, a Portland-based civil rights group that monitors anti-democracy movements nationwide.
Let’s hope they’re right. Grave threats remain to our democracy.
Extremism has flourished in America in recent years, aided and abetted by social networking platforms with algorithms that help conspiracy theories and disinformation spread like wildfire. One of our two major political parties is no longer committed to republicanism, despite having the name Republican. We remain in dangerous waters, and we have a ways to go before we’re out of them.