As long as Americans remain ignorant and allow for subjective judgements to sway political discourse, then public officials and professional politicians may never be held accountable for their illegal actions and wrongdoings.
A scathing and lengthy New York Times article published earlier this month chronicled apparent wrongdoing on the part of current President Donald Trump and other Trump family members during a period of uncertainty following a decline in health of Trump family patriarch and primary financial provider, Fred Trump in the 1990s.
The New York Times investigation found that some of the actions taken by President Trump and his siblings greatly attributed to the massive wealth they currently enjoy and overshadow the president’s self-proclaimed successes and individual genius in the business world.
“President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents,” reported The New York Times.
Even if everyone ignored the alleged illegalities or at the very least, remained callous to some of the gray area fence riding Trump has done since he has been in the public eye, you would be hard-pressed if everyone allowed themselves to be blind of the lengths in which his father went to supply his son with a fortune and financially habitable future.
For years Trump boasted about his financial ingenuity and ability to turn a million-dollar loan from his father into a billion-dollar real estate empire. The only problem is that the loan was closer to $413 million. On the campaign trail in 2015, then presidential candidate Donald Trump mentioned in an interview the role his father played in his success and purposely downplayed it.
“It has not been easy for me. I started off in Brooklyn, my father gave me a small loan of a million dollars. I came into Manhattan and I had to pay him back, and I had to pay him back with interest.”
A recent poll conducted by Morning Consult and Politico brought to light the separation in beliefs held by much of the country. The focus of the poll was to extract how people felt about the release of the president’s tax returns given the newly published Trump tax story by The New York Times. As expected it was divided along partisan lines with 76 percent of Democrats wanting the release and only 18 percent of Republicans sharing the same belief. 50 percent of Independents cared for the release while 40 percent of Independents mirrored the Republican response.
The issue here and the one currently permeating through American political culture is what do we do about this situation, if anything can be done at all and why isn’t this more prominent in the minds of the American populace considering it is a recent and massive breakthrough in the longtime, heavily suspected structural misgivings that make up Trump’s billion-dollar empire.
Much can be blamed for the compartmentalization that we do as politically charged and emotionally driven citizens of a polarized nation. However, more often than not, our lack of acknowledging our subconscious underpinnings and the cognitive dissonance that results from it often clouds what should be objectively judged.
For example, as former President Barack Obama was leaving office, Valerie Jarrett, a top administration official would constantly tell CNN that the president led a scandal free 8 years. However, this was far from the truth. The Obama administration was replete with scandals, but they never went further than the court of public opinion, each of them failing to reach a just end.
Obama’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) led “Operation Fast and Furious”, a gun running operation meant to track and arrest high level cartel members with the sale of guns. This operation was started under the George W. Bush administration under the name “Operation Wide Receiver”, however there was a fairly big technical difference. Bush’s operation coordinated efforts with ATF divisions in Mexico as well as Mexican authorities. The operation led to the sale of thousands of weapons, many of which have not been seen since, as well as the death of hundreds of Mexicans and at least one American. No one was held accountable.
Too many times has an able-bodied American public let politicians ravaged by scandals through the cracks. Too many times have politicians escaped true justice, with little to no repercussions outside of public embarrassment. Only when a politician is identified as no longer useful to those around them and their political party is justice allowed to take its rightful course.
It is easy to dismiss scandalous misdoings when they occur on your side of the aisle, but it is much easier to point out past indiscretions and use them as a scapegoat. As a result, we find ourselves in a perpetual state of playing the blame game while allowing the misdeeds of elected officials to go unpunished.