The Department of Justice was initiated in 1870 by President Ulysses S. Grant specifically to preserve civil rights. It began by fighting against domestic terrorists who had been using both violence and legal action to oppose the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. The newly formed Ku Klux Klan were the first group in their sights, and in Grant’s first term of office there were 1000 indictments against Klan members and 600 convictions. Members got relatively brief sentences but ringleaders were imprisoned for up to five years in federal prison. The result: a dramatic decrease in violence in the South.
Today, the DOJ seems downright timid in comparison. There have been prosecutions of rioters at the coup attempt on the Capitol, but no indictments against its ringleaders to date. There has been one case against voter suppression laws in one state, but no conviction to date and no actions against 18 other states. White supremacy groups are still able to operate without a domestic terrorism designation in seeming violation of the above mentioned Amendments to the Constitution. Mass current gun laws being violated or any pressure against gun shops approving the sale of assault weapons to those currently banned from buying such weapons in states that have laws against such sales or ownership.
Little has been heard from the present Attorney General Merrick Garland, except for a commencement speech at Harvard which the press has not even covered. He seems to be waiting for the House Committee Investigating the January 6 insurrection to conclude its hearings and send any recommendations for action to the DOJ. He is not bound by law to await the end of such hearings, but has refrained from investigating such ringleaders as former president Donald Trump, Roger Stone, former chief of staff Mark Meadows, a number of GOP Representatives, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Guliani, members of Trump’s family, and a multitude of other perps. No action, at least that we the public know about. No grand jury. No FBI investigations under way, apparently.
So what is the DOJ, the only reliable enforcer of the Constitution, doing? I’m not an expert, but it truly looks like nothing much at all. My wife tells me to be patient, that there are probably clandestine movements happening underground and out of the purview of mainstream, or any tributary, media sources. But most journalists today seem not be investigative in practice. They receive the news rather than dig for the news like Woodward and Bernstein in “those thrilling days of yesteryear!” So we can’t even depend on investigative journalists to help us understand what the DOJ is doing these days. We’re not far from the Russian propaganda system in that regard.
All of which I speak is of great concern to me, and should be to you. The integrity of our Constitution and its Bill of Rights is at stake. The very stanchions on which our democracy is built, those original documents and their preambles, are being applied to present day situations as if we were still in 1780. Originalists, the conservative Supreme Court Justices are called. But that’s absurd. The above mentioned Amendments refer to freed slaves alone but must also apply to all of us now or the democratic mechanisms of voting will continue to be torn to shreds by GOP-led state legislatures and the GOP in Congress. The Second Amendment has led to more guns in America than people, including guns that can kill hundreds in a matter of minutes. In 1790, it took a few minutes to load and reload a muzzle-loading rifle. Today it takes seconds to load a whatever bullet clip onto an AR-15 assault rifle. It’s insane that the Second Amendment can still be used to justify the ownership of such weapons and ammunition and make them relatively easy to purchase. Absolutely insane. Congress can’t even pass a bill to put a safety lock on these guns, a bill that if passed would probably be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court!
But the DOJ does nothing to right these wrongs, at least from my perspective. Why? Merrick Garland and Joe Biden are cautious men. Kamala Harris is a cautious woman. Chuck Schumer is a cautious man. Donald Trump is a dangerous man, as his niece, psychologist Mary Trump, points out. Many of his followers threaten death to those (and their families) who oppose their Dear Leader in any way, as the SS did to anyone who opposed Hitler in his occupied countries. Donald Trump has made no attempt to stop them. On the contrary, he instigates these threats! Are the Democrats in power intimidated? Perhaps.
Has the DOJ taken any viable action against these death threats? No. Just one or two prosecutions and convictions against those who issue a death threat could well deter others from the same verbal violence. But Garland and the FBI ignore these Mafia-like threats, and in ignoring them, condone them. Why has the DOJ done nothing about these threats and the other injustices I’ve listed above? Why is that?
And that is the question I will leave you with.
Why is that?