A True and Better Indictment
Trump, Nashville, and the post-truth age to come.
Here’s the thing about the Manhattan district attorney’s indictment against Donald Trump: Absolutely no one believes it matters in the way that criminal indictments are supposed to matter. Most who are glad to see President Trump charged with a crime are glad for many reasons, but not for the reason that this particular crime is being seriously pursued by the authorities. Rather, they are glad that a person like Donald Trump is facing legal threat, and this gladness is shaped by many things President Trump has said and done, but what he’s accused of in the indictment is not really one of them. Indicting this particular president, after all, is an act of enmity toward the things he stands for, and strikes a blow against the many evils his person and his politics cultivate.
On the other hand, most of the people who are infuriated at the indictment are not infuriated for the typical reasons one would be infuriated at an indictment (believing the person is innocent). Rather, they are infuriated to see a person like President Trump indicted by a person like Alvin Bragg. Their instincts to defend him are borne not from their beliefs about this actual case but their beliefs about the people who are pursuing him and about President Trump’s views and administration. Whether the indictment describes factually true behavior or not is beside the point. The point is politics. The point is that indicting this particular president is an act of enmity toward his supporters, and by extension, toward about half the country.
You see what has happened? We now live in a political culture where even the force of law can be exercised and nobody actually cares about the details of how it was exercised.