From Merriam-Webster: Treason (noun): the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family
Treason. It’s a pretty powerful word, an ugly word. A word that compares on the ugliness scale is “rape”. One, rape, is the subversion of, the exertion against, the usurpation of control, the commitment of sexual violence towards an individual. Treason, the other, is doing the same to a nation, a state, a community. And I wonder if that has happened here, to us, as a nation. Has our country been raped?
I’ve been warned that if I continue to write, to publish, that I’ll end up on Trump’s enemies list. I can only hope that I garner that sort of interest at the presidential level. On my 12th birthday I was lucky, it was a good day. It was snowing, I grew up wanting to ski, I would soon. I went to a high school football game with my brother. Father Robert Drinan hugged me that day. He was on Nixon’s “opponents” list, a longer version of the enemies list. I can only hope to get the attention needed to be on Trump’s list. But I digress.
If an individual, or a group of people, works with a foreign entity in an attempt to affect the outcome of a US presidential election, have they committed treason? If they act on someone’s behalf, is he guilty too even if he doesn’t have explicit knowledge? The definition above suggests that someone is guilty of treason if they act this way. Working with said outside government is, pure and simple, forming an alliance contrary to the beliefs and norms of our society. It is an explicit attempt to subvert the processes of democracy, of our elections. Treason doesn’t need violence, only an extralegal usurpation of process. Has that happened here?
To date, there is no evidence that anyone has colluded with a foreign government to influence or subvert US presidential election. There is evidence of contacts, conversations, but nothing more. Yet I’m wondering if there is another shoe to drop. Rarely do leaks of this magnitude tell the whole story at the beginning. They are often about influencing change, offering a bit of, well, blackmail. So I wonder if there is more. Has treason been committed? So far it’s just evidence of contact. No allegations of collusion, at least so far. But what is being left out. Did “advisors” work with foreign “partners” in an attempt to influence our elections? We deserve to know. Democracy only survives in the light of day. There is too much darkness here.
If there was indeed contact and collusion then it is an impeachable offense. “Article 2, The Executive Branch, Section 4, Disqualification” of the Constitution is explicit:
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
One can debate what “other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” means, but not the meaning of “Treason”. I have no doubt that the founders listed it first for a reason. There is no greater crime, none, than for an elected official to have betrayed their own country.
As much as I want this president removed from office, that democracy be restored, I can only hope that we don’t have a Howard Baker moment, the question asked, “What did the President know and when did he know it?” I want to believe in freedom and fairness. But every day that gets harder. The ugliness from the White House is just to prevalent.
Finally, in closing, Dan Rather says “courage”. I guess my word needs to be “resist”.
6 thoughts on “Thoughts on Treason”
I’ve been surprised at how seldom the word “treason” is being brought up by the “evil press”, or even in casual conversation. Maybe we don’t really understand what it means or what its definition is, or maybe we just cannot believe we’d need to have a conversation about it, in this country, in this time. Maybe we are afraid to entertain the possibility.
Thanks for shedding light on the possibility.
Well said. It’s hard to imagine that we even have to have this discussion, in this place and era.
Nice piece. We are all looking forward to the conclusion of the various investigations concerning Trump people and Russian contacts.
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