Opinion: ‘Defending our republic by rejecting political persecutions’

Vancouver attorney Angus Lee
Vancouver attorney Angus Lee

Vancouver attorney Angus Lee believes we all lose when our justice system is used as a political tool to unseat candidates for office

Angus Lee 
for Clark County Today

The peaceful transition of power from one president to another is a historical anomaly that Americans have enjoyed so regularly that they have lost sight of how rare and special it is. In other countries, and historically, national leaders never voluntarily step down and allow the other side to take power. They don’t because, in those countries, the transfer of power is often followed by retribution in the form of exile, show trials, seizure of property, or assassination. As a result, there is traditionally no incentive for leaders to voluntarily transfer power and every reason for them to resist doing so.

But America has been special and unique. We have had repeated peaceful transfers of power. We have had this precisely because we, as a people, have, on both sides, resisted the temptation to allow passion and zeal for payback to overcome our sense of reason and temperance.

Americans have traditionally recognized that as much as one side may disagree with or dislike the other side or its leader, the prosecution of political opposition would disincentivize leaders from leaving office, jeopardizing the entire system of self-governance. Both sides have agreed on this norm and tradition for centuries, and the nation has benefited.

Neither Ronald Reagan nor George H.W. Bush was prosecuted following the Iran-Contra scandal. Bill Clinton was not prosecuted when he clearly committed perjury by denying under oath his sexual relations with an intern in the Oval Office, nor for the rape accusation he faces, nor for the Whitewater scandal. George W. Bush was not prosecuted for the weapons of mass destruction claim that never materialized, nor for the “enhanced interrogation” issue. Barack Obama was not prosecuted following his approval of a drone strike to kill an American citizen abroad, nor for the unlawful surveillance program under his administration. Hillary Clinton was not charged for her gross negligence in handling classified materials, even though there was sufficient evidence to file charges. She was not criminally charged for her campaign finance violation related to the secret funding of the now-debunked “Steele dossier.” Likewise, President Biden, who stashed classified materials in his garage, was not charged. Notably, the excuse for not charging President Biden was that he lacks the basic mental capacity to commit a crime — that is to say, he lacks the mental capacity to know right from wrong.

One may ask why they weren’t all charged. “Do the crime, do the time.” The answer is that both sides have traditionally afforded latitude to political leaders once they leave office. This latitude has not been for the benefit of those leaders, but for us.

That latitude was given in recognition that for the republic to endure, the leaders of our political parties must know — not feel, but know — that they are free to leave office and turn over the reins of power without being hounded to the ends of the earth once they do so. It is precisely because we have maintained that tradition that our republic has endured and enjoyed peaceful transitions of power.

That tradition and norm was grossly violated in New York. The reality, known to everyone, is that those charges would not have been brought if Donald Trump was not the former and potential future president. The charges were brought for political reasons, not merit.

No doubt the convictions will be overturned on appeal, but the loser here is the American people. The loser is the future generations, whose leaders will now be hesitant to turn over power to political opposition. We all lose when our justice system is used as a political tool to unseat candidates for office. We all lose because this has set a precedent, and we will now see more county prosecutors going after political candidates from the opposite party.

What happened in New York was an admission that the current regime does not have the support of the people. The resort to political lawfare is an admission that the current regime is afraid it can’t win a free and fair election.

What happened in New York may well be the start of a great descent for our country. Or, if we choose, it can be an opportunity for the American people to defend our right to elect the leaders of our choosing and reject the undemocratic idea that a prosecutor and 12 people in New York get to decide who we can vote for.

The only way to stop this New York lawfare from setting the new standard in politics is to ensure that all political prosecution has the opposite of its intended effect.

We must reject candidates of either party, and especially our own, who take political advantage of the persecution of candidates. Those seeking to make political gain from a political prosecution are just as damaging to the republic as those who institute the persecution and should be soundly rejected.

We all have an obligation to current and future generations to resist. We must prove that lawfare attacks on candidates do not work, or it will happen again and again. Simply put, we must… MakeAmericaGreatAgain!

Also read:

Receive comment notifications
Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x