America’s constitution was circumvented and marginalized by Trump loyalists in the Senate as they delivered their deathblow to fairness and acquitted the President of the two articles of impeachment. But that surprised no one. Mitch McConnell gave advanced warning that the game was rigged. Now there is nothing left to assure that no man is above the law. Lady Justice was rendered ineffectual. The hood of Trumpism stifles her.

The judicial process staged by the Trump-dominated political party altered the delicate balance of power among the three branches of our government. It expanded presidential powers. The predetermined outcome of the impeachment trial emboldens Trump to continue his capricious self-serving with impunity, expecting no accountability.

Moments after the close of the farcical Senate session, Sen. Mitt Romney stated his expectations of impending peril to him and his family for voting to convict Trump. On Feb. 7, Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman and his twin brother were fired from the National Security Council and escorted from the White House, in reprisal for testimony in the impeachment hearings.

Trump has embarked on a campaign of vendettas against all who displeased him or broke ranks from his dictates. It is also certain that Trump will carry out many character assassinations. His retributions will be far reaching and intended as deterrents to future patriotic impulsiveness.

On Feb. 11, four prosecutors resigned from the Justice Department in protest of Trump’s interference in Roger Stone’s sentencing. Emulating Stalin, the President is attempting to make the Department of Justice his personal instrument. Stalin had total control of Soviet justice and law enforcement.

Stalinism threatened my life before my seventh birthday when my family was placed on the list for deportation to the gulag. A year later, I witnessed Nazi mass execution of humans because their belief in being God’s chosen people stood in contrast to German self-exaltation to super-race status. 

Having become a naturalized U.S. citizen, I cannot accept the idea that democracy and freedom are a mirage. The trampling of the lofty ideals outlined by the founders of this nation troubles me deeply, when Trump loyalists serve to nurture a despot’s avarice for power.

Our marginalized constitution has become ineffective to contain an evolving totalitarianism, especially one that has positioned itself to misuse the Justice Department. It is frightening to anticipate how laws may be used to enforce oppression and despotism.

Any hope that American voters will make the right choice in the next election gives me no comfort. The voters are easily placated by having a chicken in every pot and all the pot they can smoke. They are not likely to purge the legislative houses of Trumpism, even if Trump is ousted. Removing the horse from the stable still leaves much shoveling, before the stable is clean again.

Sen. Romney is to be commended for his courage to stand alone in the face of adversity, and to announce that he must follow the dictates of his conscience and his oath. But what solace can be offered to Col. Vindman and his brother? Who’s to shield them from a rogue President’s vengeance?

Fred Natkevi is a longtime Oak Park resident.

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