A disturbing speech raises the political stakes in legal battle

Tom Kirvan
Legal News, Editor-in-Chief

A disgraced former president has been indicted – again. And true to his character, he has chosen to view his latest legal predicament as nothing more than a badge of honor to be worn proudly before his adoring followers.

Chief among them is former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who as one of the foremost election deniers has spent much of the past year auditioning to become a certain presidential candidate’s vice-presidential pick for the 2024 campaign.

In an effort to further prove her allegiance, Lake issued a call to arms while addressing a Georgia Republican convention June 9, threatening violence against Attorney General Merrick Garland, President Biden, and Special Counsel Jack Smith for “going after” the twice impeached Trump.

Said Lake: “You’re going to have to go through me, and you’re going to have to go through 75 million Americans just like me. And I’m going to tell you, most of us are card-carrying members of the NRA. That’s not a threat, that’s a public service announcement.”

Lake, in all likelihood, thinks she just fired the first warning shot of an impending civil war, hoping in her demented way to destroy the rule of law concept that is at the heart of our justice system.

Let’s face it, talk of the “rule of law” and “democracy” is something most of us thought would never cross our lips once we finished that high school civics class years ago.

Democracy was one of those “givens” in society, a bedrock principle of our governmental process that was above challenge and beyond reproach.

Until it wasn’t.

The events of January 6, 2021 were clear evidence of that and served as a pointed reminder that the threats to democracy are real, alarming, and perhaps never-ending.

Those points were driven home by President Biden in a late summer speech last year at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the city that is home to the Liberty Bell, the symbol of freedom for more than two centuries. The President’s prime-time address was framed as a “battle for the soul of the nation,” pitting our fundamental democratic institutions against the forces of extremism in a struggle between “autocracy and democracy” that will have long term consequences for international order.

“As I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under assault,” President Biden said. “We do ourselves no favor to pretend otherwise.

“For a long time, we’ve reassured ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed,” he said. “But it is not. We have to defend it. Protect it. Stand up for it. Each and every one of us.”

America appeared ready for such a message, to finally address the culture wars and political polarization that is affecting our society. An NBC poll conducted a few weeks before the President’s address indicated that “threats to democracy” was the No. 1 issue on the minds of voters, surpassing the “cost of living.” More alarming, a Quinnipiac University poll released that month found 67 percent of respondents think the nation’s democracy is in danger of collapse, up nearly 10 percentage points since a January poll. 

Accordingly, President Biden’s speech was an alarm bell about an “extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.” 

Not surprisingly, his remarks about ongoing attempts to undermine American democracy were hailed by some and ridiculed by others depending on which political lens they look through. 

The partisan divide, however, has produced one unifying element – an acknowledgment that our fractured political state has emboldened the totalitarian regimes in Russia and China to flex their military might on the world stage.

Russia made the first move in February 2022 by invading Ukraine in a devastating land-grab attempt to bring a neighboring country to its knees.

China in recent months has been playing a deadly game of “follow the leader,” conducting a series of provocative military exercises off the coast of neighboring Taiwan in an attempt to intimidate the self-governing country 80 miles from its shores.

All of which points to the fact that the battle against extremism in the United States has morphed into a global threat posed by two superpowers with the nuclear capability to annihilate neighboring countries in a matter of minutes.

The need to curb their imperialistic impulses was an underlying message in the President’s speech last summer, just as was his desire to counter political extremism and to restore a sense of normalcy and civility to public discourse in the U.S.

Those goals can only be achieved by electing candidates who have the country’s best interests at heart, and who conduct themselves with honesty and integrity in their every act and deed.

Such standards serve as the framework for an informed electorate, voters who embrace the concepts of responsibility and accountability each time they make their voices heard at the polls.

By repudiating the incendiary rhetoric spewed by Trump, Lake, and others of that extremist ilk, we can begin building a bridge to political reconciliation, promoting a cooperative spirit that could go a long way in protecting and preserving our most sacred institutions.

Subscribe to the Legal News!
Full access to public notices, articles, columns, archives, statistics, calendar and more
Day Pass Only $4.95!
One-County $80/year
Three-County & Full Pass also available

Subscribe to the Legal News!
Full access to public notices, articles, columns, archives, statistics, calendar and more
Day Pass Only $4.95!
One-County $80/year
Three-County & Full Pass also available