An interesting thing happened yesterday. Donald Trump’s lawyers made a point.

Yes, I went for the cheap laugh, but it’s not the point in the context of the impeachment circus, but the broader illumination that point sheds on a very troubling aspect of the Left’s efforts, policies, and beliefs.

The point that Trump’s lawyers made, in an open letter to Reps. Pelosi, Engel, Schiff, and Cummings, is that the impeachment process being conducted by the Democrats deprives the President of due process. From the second paragraph:

You have denied the President the right to cross-examine witness, to call witnesses, to receive transcripts of testimony, to have access to evidence, to have counsel present, and many other basic rights guaranteed to all Americans. You have conducted proceedings in secret. You have violated civil liberties and the separation of powers by threatening Executive Branch officials…

Due Process is a broad and critically important element of American jurisprudence, itself born of the Magna Carta and English Common Law. It codifies many elements of instinctive fairness, and adds protections for the accused, all in a recognition that the State has enormous and imbalanced power against those it accuses of malfeasance, and therefore must conform to a code of conduct that minimizes the chances the wrongly accused will be convicted.

The illumination cast by this particular charge of due process violation? That today’s Left doesn’t seem to care one whit for due process if the subject of an inquiry is not of a favored group. Consider two other easy examples: investigations of alleged sexual assaults on college campuses and the proposal of red flag laws to deny gun access to potentially troubled or troublesome individuals (red flag laws already exist in some form in several states, and they are rife with due process concerns). Prior to this “red flag” push, the Left pressed, a few years back, that people on the “no-fly” list be denied the right to purchase guns. People can find themselves on the no-fly list with no due process whatsoever, so to deny someone a Constitutionally protected right based on… well, nothing other than suspicion… is rather blatant.

The Democratic Party’s approach to the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings (not to mention the recent NY Times what-were-they-thinking presentation of another accusation that the purported victim did not even recall) further illustrates a “throw due process out the window because we know he’s guilty of something” attitude.

And, the cultural attitude towards the #MeToo movement, where the Left’s opinion-makers, including Hillary Clinton declared that women have “the right to be believed,” further demonstrates that, in their minds, “due process” is something that some identity groups in our society (men, gun owners, conservative political figures, and Donald Trump, at the minimum) do not deserve.

The Left complains about a society of haves and have-nots. They rage against income inequality, “selling past the close” in their presumptive declaration that it’s a Bad Thing, but they’re abandoning an equality that is an absolute bedrock of our society: equality in individual rights, and they’re doing so out of a combination of naked, at-any-cost power lust and an increasingly visible and visceral hatred for those not of their political tribe. And, it’s not just due process that’s taken the hit. Look at the anger against free speech, and the hatred of practitioners of some religions, and you already know about the fury against gun rights.

The Republicans have not been princes in this realm, to be certain, but their transgressions of recent history don’t hold a candle to the breadth and depth of the contempt for due process (for some, that is) that the political and cultural Left are currently exhibiting. Worse, the opinion-makers on the Left are not acknowledging the importance and primacy of due process, choosing instead to assert that such concerns are a red herring intended to derail efforts at cultural progress.

You may believe that Trump is guilty as sin of the current charges. That’s your right, but he, like any other American, still deserves due process. He deserves all those rights his lawyers assert he has been denied, just as you would if you were being accused of and prosecuted for misdeeds. You may want Trump gone because you hate his politics, or hate his style, or hate him as a person. That’s your right. You can vote him out, or you can hope the impeachment succeeds in unseating him. But, if you support his removal without due process, that’s where you go wrong. Even the worst criminal deserves his day in court, and must be treated in a fair manner and under the tenets and protections set forth in the Constitution.

Impeachment is a political process, with rules set by the prosecuting entity (i.e. the House), and this round of it seems primarily focused on winning in the court of public opinion, rather than establishing an evidentiary basis for his unseating. The goal seems to be to pull public sentiment enough to force some Republicans to vote against Trump. But, if we accept a fundamentally unfair process that goes against a core principle of society just because we hate the individual at the center of it, we do irreversible damage to that society, damage that will linger and create problems long after Trump is out of office, whether that be by impeachment, election, or term limits.

As I’ve written before, Trump is a symptom, not a cause, of the current social rift. That the side claiming moral high ground and outrage on behalf of victims is the side that’s gleefully abandoning rules that protect individuals who aren’t among their “victim” groups is where we find the real problem. The cultural corrosion is already evident, in all the ways that due process is being abandoned.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.


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