On this day 54 years ago...

Evan Vucci

Elites have always gotten away with things you and I never could have. Two-tier systems of justice are the norm, not the exception in all societies.

But some societies are much worse than others, and one of the reasons the West has been so successful compared to most places is that our system of justice has been on the whole reasonably fair, at least until recently. Hardly perfect, but overall most people most of the time have enough faith in the system that they retain trust.

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Lots of studies, and common sense, point to the fact that social trust and the rule of law that helps bolster it are keys to societal and individual success. Robert Putnam, for instance, has made a career out of examining this fact and publicizing it, and I used his work way back when I was teaching. His book Bowling Alone was brilliant.

Two events–really 3–that took place within 5 years of each other helped shatter the image of fairness, and one of them took place on this day in 1969.

I am referring to Teddy Kennedy’s manslaughter of Mary Jo Kopechne, a campaign volunteer and target for Ted’s baser desires.

What is striking about the scandal known as Chappaquiddick is not how disgusting Ted Kennedy’s behavior was–he got drunk, took a woman in his car with the intent to ravish her, drove off a bridge, escaped while leaving her to drown, and ran away to his family without notifying anyone. The whole series of events was utterly depraved.

No, what is striking is that it didn’t hurt Kennedy at all. He faced neither legal consequences nor any political or social consequences. He remained in the Senate for 4 decades, was a serious contender for the presidency, challenging a sitting president, and retired as the “Lion of the Senate.”

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Democrats adored him and memory-holed Mary Jo Kopechne as if her life meant nothing at all. Because to them it did mean nothing. We saw the same thing with Bill Clinton, whose crimes didn’t rise to 2nd- or 3rd-degree murder, but rape was on the agenda, and his accusers were called “trailer trash” and unworthy of any support.

Believe all women. Except when they accuse Democrats.

The other two events I referred to were the resignations of Spiro Agnew and Richard Nixon, who are both seen as despicable villains. Now I have no particular sympathy for Agnew, who was corrupt, but it’s indisputable that Nixon was taken down for “crimes” that were pretty modest and that would have been ignored were he a Democrat. Kennedy abused the FBI to spy on MLK and God knows who else, Robert Kennedy shared transcripts of King’s phone calls with his lovers, and LBJ was LBJ, and corrupt to the core. Nixon should not have tried to protect his campaign workers from the consequences of violating the law, but his crimes were both petty and common in Washington.

There was a system of justice for Democrats and one for Republicans. It has been thus ever since.

I remember the Larry Craig scandal that forced him to resign. He was arrested in Minneapolis at the airport for having a “wide stance” in the bathroom, supposedly indicating that he wanted to engage in homosexual sex. I honestly don’t know if Craig wanted homosexual sex or not, but I am pretty sure that not just anybody would get arrested in an airport for having his legs spread wide as he took a dump. In fact, I am more than confident. I know it because it doesn’t happen. Larry Craig was ruined because he was arrested for a non-crime and a smear.

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The charging document explains what happened:

At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. … The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area. Craig then proceeded to swipe his left hand under the stall divider several times, with the palm of his hand facing upward.

Assume that was a request for a sexual encounter. What, exactly, was illegal? And do you honestly believe that any homosexual requesting anonymous sex would get arrested? Not in a million years. The outcry would be loud, long, and shrill.

It ruined Larry Craig though, and Democrats cheered.

Around the same time, an “out” advisor to our Governor Jesse Ventura went much further in a gym sauna, specifically approaching a customer for sex and making very inappropriate physical advances. The patron complained, and he was defended by the governor and the media. Different people, different standards.

Every Republican knows this to be the case, and it has only gotten worse over time. Look at Joe and Hunter Biden, both so obviously corrupt that Democrats are almost literally putting on blindfolds and screaming “Lalalalala” to avoid acknowledging it. And the media joins the chorus, letting the Justice Department commit heinous violations of law to protect the Bidens without criticism. They even deride anybody pointing to the obvious facts.

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Societies that go down this path don’t survive long, certainly not as Republics. They can persist as tyrannies for a while, but their internal contradictions erode what made them vital. They become stagnant, as people outside the elite class know that they can’t get a fair shake, so they quit bucking the system and stagnate themselves, or simply submit to the inevitable.

I don’t want to live in such a society, and I am pretty sure that it is not only Republicans who feel that way. Unfortunately it is hard to fight back, given how stacked the system is, and how perilous it is to stand up to it. Easier to keep your head down, or pretend it isn’t happening. “Joe Biden loves his son” is a more comforting belief than “Joe Biden perverted the course of justice, instructed the Attorney General to save his son, the FBI complied, and now the Democrats are ruining the whistleblowers speaking up.”

Compare that to Nixon’s crimes. All the “plumbers” went to jail. Nixon stopped before he went nearly as far as Biden.

Ted Kennedy was a disgusting figure, and obviously so. Even if he weren’t drunk driving and planning to commit adultery, leaving a girl to drown and hiding from authorities should have ruined him.

Instead it was swept under the rug. It’s good to be a Democrat.

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