This past week, Spirited Reasoners learned about a search by the FBI of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida. As has been the case with so many aspects of the Trump phenomenon, Americans are split down the middle in their reaction to the search. There appears to be no middle ground. Instead, Spirited Reasoners must choose between one of the following explanations:
The Trumpist Explanation
All the documents at Mar-a-Lago were the personal property of Donald Trump. There were no confidential government documents. Nothing top secret. Nothing that could harm the interests of the United States. Instead, dozens of FBI agents—all members of a left-wing conspiracy probably headed by Hillary Clinton—convinced a left-wing judge to sign a bogus warrant. They then invaded Mar-a-Lago for the purpose of planting evidence that could be used to support fake news. These were the same people who manufactured the votes that led to Joe Biden’s false claim that he had won the 2020 presidential election.
The Only Sensible Alternative Explanation
After receiving credible evidence that Donald Trump had secreted boxes of sensitive documents at Mar-a-Lago that should never have left the White House, the U. S. Justice Department reluctantly concluded that it had no choice but to retrieve the documents. At best, the documents were subject to the Presidential Records Act of 1978, and therefore belonged not to Donald Trump but to the American people. See, https://www.archives.gov/presidential-libraries/laws/1978-act.html At worst, the documents included national security secrets. See, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/fbi-seized-top-secret-documents-from-trumps-mar-a-lago-estate
Let’s wander down the Trumpist path for a few moments to see where it leads. We must conclude that all the judges who ruled against the numerous claims of voter fraud after the 2020 election, plus all the workers involved behind the scenes at the U. S. Justice Department, plus all the FBI agents involved, are all engaged in a conspiracy against Donald Trump. Given the enormity of such a conspiracy, we would be left with no judicial system and no federal law enforcement authority we could trust. Thus, our only course of action would be to install Donald Trump as dictator in charge. (No more separation of powers, since both the judicial branch and legislative branch—especially when it came time to count the votes from the Electoral College—had let us down.)
In, on the other hand, we listen to the Only Sensible Alternative Explanation, we need not jettison our entire federal system of law enforcement. Nor need we abandon the U. S. Constitution together with the genius of its combination of checks and balances.
The choice, for Spirited Reasoners, seems fairly clear. The only trouble is that upwards of 40 percent of our fellow Americans seem to think the Trumpist explanation is the right way to go. They seem to be okay with anything Donald Trump wants to do.
Adolf Hitler came to power with the support of only approximately 40 percent of the German popular vote because he was facing collection of divided opposition parties.
Yes, the same could happen here. But only if We the People allow it.