Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Prosecuting Political Fraud

There are lots of things democracy can't survive, not all of them enumerated as illegal. Some used to be protected by just shame. But Donald Trump has shown evil politicians everywhere that shame can be shrugged off, and this has emboldened a new crop of worse evil.

That George Santos could lie freely and still be elected is a direct consequence of the shift Trump created. It cannot be allowed to stand, to be normal.

Democracy requires more than just voting. It requires information. If you have a right to vote, but you don't have a right to know what's true, then you won't be voting in ways that react to the past and plan for the future. You'll just be playing Russian roulette.

So what's to be done? Do we have a law against politicians lying? No, not exactly. But these guys are selling their services to us. And let's just say it. It's not pretty, but it's true. Politics is a business. People profit from it. I wish it were not so, but let's at least apply the laws that apply to commerce.

George Santos profited by selling the public something that wasn't what it seemed. It'd be nice if we had a law against politicians lying to us to get into office, but let's just charge him with commercial fraud.

And let's not hear that this is a radical proposal. I'm tired of hearing radical thrown in to dampen common sense action. What's radical is that he did what he did. The response I'm proposing is “merely proportionate.”

I see prosecutors delaying where I think no delay should be needed. I guess they want to make sure they've gotten all their ducks in a row, but taking more than just a few minutes to do that sends the message that this is somehow more complicated than it is, that there are hidden factors that might excuse him. There are no such factors.

It is simply bad when someone lies to get into office. (The Supreme Court would tell us this if more than one of them had not lied to get appointed. Alas.)

Santos sold voters snake oil to get a job he didn't merit. If left to stand, it makes a mockery of democratic process. We must address this and soon before it becomes the norm.

Every bit of delay suggests there is some other rational point of view, in which he should be allowed to lie to get into office, in which we should have no recourse if someone successfully tricks us into letting them into office on false pretenses.

We must not accept that. It must not be the case that someone can lie to get into office. It must not be the case that if someone is found to have lied to get in, we no longer have recourse.

This is not complicated. He cheated. There is law that makes sense to apply.
Prosecute him. Now.

Author‘s Notes:

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