The word ‘unprecedented’ has been used more in the past week than at any other time, I do believe. Yes, a search warrant served on a former president was without precedent until last Monday, but then … the entirety of Donald Trump’s ‘presidency’ was without precedent!
No other president had been involved in more than 5,000 lawsuits before taking office. No other president had been elected despite some 25 sexual harassment claims against him. No other president would have or could have been elected after having said that “when you’re famous, you can do anything … you can grab them by the #####.” No other president fired a top level bureaucrat (FBI Director James Comey) for refusing to swear an oath of fealty to him … not the nation, but him. No other president denigrated our allies while cozying up to authoritarians and dictators. And the list goes on, but you get the picture … the entire four years was jaw-dropping and unprecedented.
And then the year and a half of his post-presidency has been entirely unprecedented. Most presidents after either terming out or being defeated in election go quietly and with dignity, moving on to the next stage of their lives. Trump, however, continues to claim he won the election, continues to hold rallies and call himself “president”, continues to endorse conspiracy theorists and only those people who still, after a year-and-a-half, go along with his ‘big lie’ that he won the 2020 election. Now seriously, folks, does this sound like a normal person? I could go on and on about the ‘unprecedented’ things he did, like threatening to withhold military aid that had already been approved by Congress unless Ukraine agreed to make up lies about a private citizen. Or the time, just a few months after his inauguration, that he met with Russian diplomats (Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak) and relayed highly classified information to them. And no president in the history of the United States has told so many lies that they were tracked on a daily basis (he averaged 14.8 lies per day).
And let’s not forget the big one: No other president has plotted and incited an attempted coup to overturn a fair and honest election, to overthrow the duly elected government. NONE. EVER.
There has, in short, been absolutely nothing ‘normal’ about the Trump era, and the fact that he removed highly classified documents from the White House upon his exit is just one more in a string of abnormalities, or unprecedented behaviour over the past 6 years or so. It is, perhaps, the straw that broke the camel’s back, the last straw. When anyone … a politician or private citizen … puts the entire nation, indeed the entire world at risk by his own stupidity, it may well require ‘unprecedented’ actions to mitigate the damage. The search warrant and removal of highly classified documents was fully right and proper, was completely justified. My only question is … how did he manage to get out with some 27 or more boxes of documents to which he had no right in the first place? Was his keeper asleep on the job? And … perhaps most important of all … has our national security been breached beyond repair?
Keep in mind that literally everything was unprecedented once upon a time. This is how societies and nations grow. Once upon a time, it was unprecedented for Black people or women to be allowed to vote in this country. Once upon a time, it was unprecedented to have a Black president. Once upon a time, automobiles, planes, cruise ships, electric appliances, computers and more were unprecedented, but today they are a part of everyday life. ‘Unprecedented’ need not necessarily have a bad connotation! In this case, it simply means we are moving forward to remedy a potentially dangerous situation. Period.
I would hope that adults on both sides of the political spectrum would act like adults, drop the hyperbole, and look at the facts, rather than calling for and engaging in violent activities. Donald Trump is no longer the president, he is a civilian just like you and I, subject to the same laws we are. He has gotten by with far too much, in part because of his bluster and in part because he instills fear of retaliation into the members of his party. It’s time for it to stop. It’s time for justice to be served, for his nearly-unfettered romp through our political systems to come to its logical end. Unprecedented? Every single thing about him and his ‘presidency’ has been unprecedented, and now it’s time to finish the job, to ensure that he steps back, steps down, and is relegated to the annals of history … a history which, unless I miss my guess, will view him as the most horrible, unprecedented of all the presidents we have had.