The Disunited Banana Republic

 

Jon Reisman

Former President Trump’s felony lawfare conviction is historic, divisive, and tragic. Show trials and prosecutions of political opponents will now inevitably become a regular feature of our state and federal “justice” systems. In a banana, as opposed to a constitutional republic, freedoms and the rule of law are not equally and neutrally applied, but rather used as a shield to protect the already empowered and a sword to control and harass everyone else. Once you start down the road to banana republic hood, it is very difficult or impossible to reverse course.

Consider the incentives. For Democrats, if the words “convicted felon” work to enhance their turnout and suppress Trump support, this type of lawfare will continue to be practiced from the left. For Republicans, they have no choice but to respond with tit for tat lawfare from red state prosecutors targeting progressive leaders. To do nothing is simply to invite more lawfare. We are on course for civil war and/or full banana republic status.                                             

On the margins in swing states, it is not clear what the ultimate effect will actually be, other than exacerbating our tribal ideological divisions and further fraying whatever cultural bonds still unite us. In a closely divided and polarized electorate, fueling disunity is now a commonly adopted strategy and unfortunate standard operating procedure, whether it is an entertaining committee catfight between Representatives Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Marjory Taylor Green or a geriatric grudge match between a polarizing convicted felon and an angry senescent corrupt doddering fool. 

Beyond not unilaterally disarming, I have a few recommendations for those who would prefer a constitutional republic over a banana republic:

• Make a point of asking what crime/felony President Trump was convicted of. It’s like the 2009 movie It’s Complicated, where a lot of the innuendo is off-screen. That can be an effective cinematic approach, but it is rather at odds with equal justice under the law. 

• Recall that California and a number of blue states passed legislation and rules restricting the use of state dollars to fund travel to red states whose abortion, election, and racial spoils policies they disagreed with. In light of New York’s serial aggressions against Donald Trump and the Constitutional Republic, red states should do the same, and Maine legislative candidates should debate and discuss the issue.

• Our slide toward banana republic status in Maine was certainly aided by Governor Mills’s prosecution of climate change “deniers” when she was Attorney General and by Secretary of State Bellows when she tried to kick Trump off the ballot. There should be some accountability for those actions unless you want more of them.

• Our new flag, unveiled in a Manhattan court on 5/30/24:

Jon Reisman is an economist and policy analyst who retired from the University of Maine at Machias after 38 years. He resides on Cathance Lake in Cooper, where he is a Selectman and a Statler and Waldorf intern. Mr. Reisman’s views are his own, and he welcomes comments as letters to the editor here or to him directly via email at [email protected].

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