Columns 2017

The two levels of American justice

The question all Americans should be asking themselves at this point is why Jeff Sessions is still Attorney General. Or, to phrase it not so politely, why isn’t Jeff Sessions in jail.

He lied to Congress. He took an oath, swore to tell the truth and then outright lied. He is the top law enforcement officer in our country. His actions should be above reproach. But instead, he lies under oath and then tries to squirm out of it by claiming he met with Russian officials as a member of the Senate and not as a campaign advisor.

It’s hard for the CPPP (current person pretending to be president) to claim this is fake news given that the whole thing is recorded. The question asked was clear and simple. Did Sessions have contact with the Russians during the campaign? The answer was an unequivocal no. How is that not lying under oath?

If you or I did this, we would be using our one phone call to look for a very good lawyer to keep our expected sentence under 50 years. If you or I had done this, the conservatives of the Obama era would be screaming for our heads as traitors who were colluding with America’s biggest enemy. But those so-called patriots, the ones wearing those flag lapel pins to prove their patriotism, seem to have gone totally silent. This despite the growing pile of evidence showing a disturbing closeness between the CPPP’s campaign and a country that is still considered a threat to America.

And so we now know for certain that there are two Americas. There is the America in which treason gets you a lifetime behind bars. There is the America in which the top law enforcement official in the country is expected to be above reproach. There is the America where lying under oath merits you, at a minimum, a jail sentence. That’s the America most of us live in.

But there is apparently this whole other America out there; an America in which breaking the law is met with stony silence by those who should be most vocal. Even more frightening, it is met with insane early morning tweets from the person whose finger is on the nuclear button. In that world, you don’t go to jail for lying to Congress. Hell, you don’t even have to resign your job. And no one calls you a traitor. You get to continue to represent the ultimate of American justice to the rest of the world.

Given the current circus at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I’m guessing the world is now just laughing at us. I’m also guessing we’ve given up the high road so completely that any moral values we try to impose on the rest of the world will just result in finger pointing and giggles.

It’s not as though America hasn’t seen this before. Think Ted Kennedy, Spiro Agnew and Richard Nixon, to name just a few. Kennedy basically got away with murder. Agnew pled out to tax evasion in return for other criminal charges being dropped and never spent a day in jail. And Richard Nixon was simply pardoned of any and all crimes committed in office.

The founders of this country would be more than a bit horrified at this turn of events. They did not want to see a permanent privileged class grow in America that would be above the law. Lady Justice is pictured blindfolded to emphasize that all who come before her are equal. But that blindfold has slipped dramatically. It is very evident that in America (as in so many countries we pretend to be better than), the richer and more powerful you are, the less the law applies to you.

So if you’re still wondering how Jeff Sessions remains the symbol of American justice despite being caught blatantly lying to Congress under oath, look no further than the privileged class that has taken over DC under the current administration. Rather than draining the swamp, CPPP has put the biggest swamp dwellers in charge of it. And they protect each other no matter the crime.

If you plan to lie under oath in the future, don’t try to use the Jeff Sessions defense. Unless you are one of the swamp dwellers, you will be punished. Because there are now two levels of justice in America and us ordinary Americans are on the receiving end of the one that ends with jail.