Justice Must Prevail: Donald Trump’s Arrest Strengthens American Democracy

Emilia Haus, Multimedia Photo Editor

On April 5, former president Donald Trump was arrested on account of 34 felony counts and became the second American president to be taken into custody. This set a new precedent for future politicians of America: the rule of law applies to everybodyand nobody, not even the person holding the highest office in the country, is above the law. 

I, like many others, grew up with the notion that the wealthiest and most powerful government positions were simply immune to the law. I understood the unfairness and never anticipated an equal distribution of punishments. In my seventh-grade civics class, learning about the rule of law and the power of the people, I never would have believed I would witness it firsthand just three years later. 

The last time the nation took a president into custody was in 1872 when Ulysses S. Grant was arrested for speeding. The story was not even reported until 1908 when the officer responsible for his arrest appeared in an interview. Since then, public scandals and legal issues have occurred during multiple presidencies; most notably the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky affair that led to Clinton’s impeachment — second in infamy only to Watergate. When Watergate shocked the Nation and exposed former President Richard Nixon’s complicity in covering up the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, Nixon’s approval ratings immediately plummeted as he faced likely impeachment. With this impending impeachment, Nixon instead decided to become the first United States president to resign, presenting a cowardly move to run away from the undeniable truth of his failure to take on the role of president and creating an irreversible divide in American political parties. The significance of Nixon and Watergate does not end there, seeing as in 1974 former president Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon of any crimes; this shows that historically, presidents have gotten away with way more than they ought to. 

The arrest of Trump signifies a change in the U.S. This change is about forcing accountability and ensuring the rule of law stays in place for all. Trump’s legal process and arrest will strengthen our democracy, and serve as an example for years to come. Hopefully, it will not happen frequently, but it demonstrates that repercussions arise for even the highest officials. 

While this may be a semi-new concept for the U.S., there have been multiple instances in other countries of leaders being charged during or after their term, strengthening democracy.  Examples include former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who received a three-year sentence for corruption, as well as South Korea’s investigation and conviction of five former presidents.These cases each display strong democracy and a strong and fair judicial system, representing the people. A system that does not fear prosecuting top officials despite public opinion, one that does not favor the top % of people, or the ultra-famous politicians and has all classes take accountability.

Arresting Trump will strengthen the country’s democracy in the short and long term and will be used as an example to other future politicians for decades to come. Strengthening rule of law and our overall society and politics.