Effects of justly prosecuting politicians

By Kevin Michel and By Kevin Michel

For much of the public who already have a strong disdain for career politicians and lobbyists, the indictment of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates will come as no surprise. Money laundering, conspiracy and other charges are piling up.

Mr. Trump certainly seems to be “draining the swamp” in a rather indirect way, whether it is at the cost of his own presidency or not. What seems to be a more important issue to look at is how the prosecution of both Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and one can only assume there will be more to follow, will feed the majority of the public’s negative image towards career politicians.

Public trust in our leaders can certainly keep going down, but what will happen when it reaches its low point? A complete disregard for those in office may have two consequences. First, rising protests and violence may occur, although this is the less likely of the two. And second, politicians will use the public’s disdain of politics to their advantage.

Speaking to the first, I do not see this as too terribly possible. When the public becomes so unfaithful and disdainful towards those in office, they will most likely not turn to violence. Instead they will turn to cynicism. We should be more aware of this because it will lead us into the second, and more worrisome consequence.

A cynical public abandons concepts of the right and just and instead looks to emotion. Did we see the beginnings of this in the 2016 election? Swaying public emotion on the grounds of hatred towards politics can have disastrous effects.

The content of a politician’s policy become negligible as they win approval by saying things like, “Let’s change the way Washington is run!” or worse, “Get all the crooks out!” The public who follows a politician using their own hatred as an advantage gets swooped up into a group, defiant towards other political parties and reinforced by the idea of unity and change. If this sounds familiar, it should be.

No, this has not happened in American history yet, but it has happened in other countries, and I feel as though I do not need to name them.

Currently, it feels as though there is little to no trust being placed in the few running our country. Granted, this is hard to do right now and that is a fact we must reconcile with. But, lowering our respect for those in office will lead us down a potentially dangerous path, and it is one that we certainly will not want to go down.