Some of my friends will disagree, but it would have been better for the long-term interests of peace and justice if New York City had not arrested former President Donald Trump, or had at least waited until much later to bring this case.
The charge is confusingly indirect: falsifying business records in order to conceal criminal conduct that hid embarrassing information about his sexual conduct from the voting public. The charges, which barely rise above the misdemeanor level, may be true, but their national significance pales beside the import of other cases against Trump concerning (1) the riot by Trump supporters against the U.S. Capitol, (2) Trump's phone call to Georgia's secretary of state urging him to "find" enough votes to reverse the presidential election results and (3) secret government documents discovered at the ex-president's Mar-a-Lago mansion.
This nation is edging toward sporadic civil warfare between two unfortunately well-defined factions. The "reds" are mostly Republican, Christian, white, rural people in the South and Midwest. They abhor and fear the cultural changes that have occurred and will intensify. The more diverse, urban and liberal "blues" should not feed these fears with politics-inspired finger-pointing such as the New York City case. Unfortunately, this cat is already out of the bag and can only help Trump while needlessly enraging the reds.
Thoughtful blues will be peaceniks in this debate. Blues must understand conservatives' real fears and avoid unnecessary pushing, shoving and name-calling even despite some outrageous red tactics. Blues are winning and will continue winning provided the cultural pressures don't explode into open warfare that derails inevitable liberal dominance.
Consider two leading domestic cultural issues in this debate: abortion and guns. According to Pew Research, 61% of Americans currently say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 37% say it should be illegal in all or most cases. A similar gap has existed since 1995 and has widened steadily since 2010.
According to the Gallup Poll, 57% say that laws covering the sale of guns should be more strict, while 10% say they should be less strict and 32% say they should be kept as they are. A similar gap has existed since 1992 and has widened steadily since 2010.
Despite a conservatively packed Supreme Court and a badly misinterpreted Second Amendment, the majority views on both issues will eventually prevail.
A recent article by Washington Post opinion columnist Jennifer Rubin titled "Why white Christian nationalists are in such a panic" spells out the reds' long-run dilemma. White Christian nationalists, the most loyal of Trump's supporters, feel besieged because they are losing ground. She notes that a recent census of U.S. religion, based on 40,000 interviews, shows that the population of this faction is declining. White Christians comprised 54% of Americans in 2008, 47% in 2014, and 42% in 2022.
The most conservative Christians, namely white evangelical Protestants, comprised 23% of Americans in 2006, 17% in 2016 when Trump rose to power and 14% today. These trends will accelerate as the current population ages because older Christians mostly remain Christian while younger Christians tend to become nonreligious.
Americans are deserting religion in droves. In my opinion, religions can stem this process while remaining culturally vital by ditching their impossible miracles while retaining their useful social services. Jesus was a good man who was far ahead of his times, but he didn't do impossible things.
Reds' efforts to cling to power only worsen their prospects. We seem to be witnessing this in the form of the resurrection of red support for Trump's presidential campaign. I am not a political prognosticator, but I think that any Trump political victories will only more certainly doom reds' long-term prospects.
America today is more of an oligarchy than a democracy, but I believe democracy remains sufficiently strong that the political majority will prevail in the long run regardless of the red-ward tilt of the Supreme Court, regardless of right-wing gerrymandering, regardless of voter repression and regardless of conservatives' rich campaign coffers.
So the news is good: Over the next decade or two, Americans will remove current state restrictions on abortions, will institute stricter gun control regulations and will adopt more progressive policies on a wide range of issues including gender diversity, racial diversity and workers' rights. Most importantly, in my opinion, more Americans will adopt evidence and reason as the basis of their policy decisions as opposed to anti-intellectualism based on feelings, religion and tradition.