I was raised with a respect for teachers, police, government – even the United Nations. Part of maturing was, sadly, recognizing that there were phenomenal teachers and incompetent ones; there were noble policemen and corrupt ones; principled statesmen and conniving politicians. As for the United Nations, well, maybe at some point it had a purpose, but it has long become a snake’s den.
The Patty Hearst trial in 1976 was another brick in building a tower of cynicism. At an age when I should have been idealistic I remember feeling, correctly or not, that her conviction came less from her actions or the facts and more as a punishment for being born to a wealthy and prominent family. These feelings of the corruption of justice are surfacing again with Paul Manafort’s convictions and the Michael Cohen saga.
I don’t think these men have lived blameless lives, but that is irrelevant. I think that if endless money and time was devoted to finding illegal acts in any president’s confidants, facts to convict them would be found. Actually, few citizens could withstand such scrutiny. The defunct USSR convicted anyone they wanted to punish and the stench of that type of corruption is present here. When justice searches to punish rather than to treat everyone equally, no one is safe.