Nation divided


This Thursday will be the 80th anniversary of D-Day. On the sixth of June 1944, over seventy-five thousand American soldiers, sailors, and airmen along with other allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy to begin the liberation of Europe from the grip of Hitler’s nazi Germany. If you ever hear anyone cast doubt on the United States and its might, its righteousness, and its redemptive ardor against evil in this world, you only need to cite this one day to set the record straight. The D-Day operation was repeatedly delayed. Finally, in the late hours of June 5, General Dwight Eisenhower gave the order to go. The weather was bad, the troops were antsy and restless, and unforeseen obstacles threatened the mission to the point where the largest amphibious force in history was almost called back. Over 10,000 men were killed or wounded that day, but that one day was the beginning of the end of the German Reich and the worst worldwide, man-made crime against humanity in all recorded history. One thing is certain. If the United States had not entered the war, England and all of Europe would more than likely have fallen under nazi rule and Hitler’s dream of a “thousand year” reign would probably have been established. Sixteen million veterans fought in WW II. Only 118,000 are now still alive. On this 80-year anniversary, I wonder how those veterans feel about the current state of the country they sacrificed so much for back then. In 1940, the USA was divided about entering the war in Europe, but once the decision was made, the country came together and never looked back. Today, we are again at a point of deep division. Not as perilous as back then perhaps, but seriously straining the bindings of this nation. As we approach the time when we will make one of the most important decisions a democracy can make, some fundamentals have recklessly changed. Political competition in the electoral exercise has always been a natural and healthy part of a free and fair government, but what we are watching now days is not that. Recently we have witnessed a trial conducted in what many feel is an unconventional manner based on irregular process, questionable charging practices, and unsettled, imprecise jury instruction. Additionally, the case presented in a New York State Court as a misdemeanor strangely morphed into a felony based on its surprise evolution and assertion by the District Attorney that it was tied to a mysterious “second crime” which was unproven and not even revealed until the final day of prosecution thereby denying the defense the opportunity to effectively prepare a response. The defendant, who happened to be a candidate in the upcoming election for President, was denied due process in trial proceedings by the judge’s disallowance of requested witnesses and the imposition of a “gag order”. Given the unusual conduct of the District Attorney who chose to leap-frog this case over a long line of previously scheduled cases awaiting trial, as well as the refusal of the judge to recuse himself despite his own admission of political support and involvement with the defendant’s competitor in the Presidential election, it is not surprising that many legal scholars both in and out of New York state have commented that the most significant loss in the guilty verdict was not to the defendant, Donald Trump, but to the trust and confidence of the ordinary citizen who has always relied on the fairness and consistency of the rule of law. Eighty years ago, Americans fought and died on the beaches of France to protect the fundamental rights of liberty, democracy, and when all else fails, the full promise of justice. No matter your political views, it seems like this country needs to exercise great care that the divisions so carelessly created don’t become cracks too large to repair.