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The Next Jurors are the American Voters



David W. Marshall

During a television interview, a Republican lawmaker was once asked if there was anything about then-President Barack Obama you liked. He quickly responded, by stating he liked the fact that Obama was a family man.


The same sentiment was reinforced years earlier by former Senator John McCain during the 2008 presidential campaign. During an October 10, 2008, town hall event in Lakeville, Minnesota, a person in attendance told McCain that she could not trust Obama. The woman called Obama “an Arab” at the height of the conspiracy theory movement claiming Obama was not a natural-born citizen and therefore ineligible to be president. “No ma’am, he’s a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign is all about,” McCain said to the town hall crowd.


The exchange came to be viewed as a defining moment in McCain’s long political career. The Washington Post named it one of McCain’s most courageous political moments. The exchange illustrates how political opponents on the campaign trail can maintain degrees of respect and civility toward each other. Unfortunately, our political environment has evolved. The idea of maintaining basic respect and civility among lawmakers is no longer commonplace. Secondly, Sen. McCain highlighted how love of family is one thing we all have in common. Whether it is a white social conservative family in rural America or a Black progressive family from the inner city, people of all political persuasions can relate to each other in regards to the fondness and support they have for their families.  


Having a president who is a strong family man meant something at one point in time, particularly to those who prided themselves in promoting “God, family and country”. This was true even when the president was a so-called hated democrat named Barack Obama. Never before has a former president been convicted of a crime before now. When it comes to his supporters, the content of a president’s character no longer matters when that president is named Donald Trump. When Trump was found guilty of trying to influence the 2016 election by falsifying payment to a porn star to buy her story of an affair, some viewed the verdict through a political lens while others viewed it strictly through a judicial lens. In 1998, conservatives were not hesitant in viewing the scandal involving former president Bill Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky from a moral lens. So far, Trump has managed to dodge the judicial and moral scrutiny from his fellow Republicans and a large amount of the electorate. Everything to them is political to their advantage.


MAGA Republicans can’t have it both ways by embracing the phrase “God, family and country” while promoting conspiracy theories that undermine religion, family values and patriotism. They also can not embrace conspiracy theories that seek to destroy the confidence and trust in the American judicial system. A Trump campaign memo contained talking points for Republican lawmakers suggesting they call the case against Trump a sham, hoax, witch hunt and election interference. Republicans have abandoned their most deeply held principles that they can no longer, with any amount of credibility, call themselves the party of family values, defenders of the Constitution and the party of “law and order”. What would have been the reaction from the MAGA crowd if it were Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton who was convicted of 34 felony charges? The U.S. Senate and House are running out of John McCain type Republicans who have the political courage to place the country first rather than succumb to conspiracy theories regarding a “rigged” system.


It took 12 Manhattan jurors only a few days to go behind doors, deliberate and come up with a unanimous decision concerning Donald Trump’s guilt. It is safe to say that those jurors were objective and serious when looking at the facts and evidence through a judicial lens. The bet from the Trump camp figured at least one juror would be political in reviewing the evidence that the former president committed adultery and tried to hide it from the public to avoid losing a presidential election. The one juror never materialized.


 In November, the American voters are not deciding the outcome of a criminal trial, but they are choosing if a convicted felon will become president of the United States. As a convicted felon, Trump would be banned from 37 countries should he be elected president. Some of those countries include several of America’s strongest allies such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Israel and Mexico.  Whether you agree or disagree with the verdict, the process was performed according to the law. The election process will be the same. No rigged verdict and no rigged election results. As voters, we too are jurors. We need to be objective in considering the facts involving the case, and what it would mean to the credibility of our nation to have an convicted criminal felon elected head of state and commander-in-chief. 

David W. Marshall is the founder of the faith-based organization, TRB: The Reconciled Body, and author of the book God Bless Our Divided America. He can be reached at www.davidwmarshallauthor.com.


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