I was moved by Joe Biden’s words at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner over the weekend. He was realistic. He talked about the difficulty of a moment where “the truth is buried by lies and the lies live on as truth” and that there was “incredible pressure (on the press) to deliver heat instead of shed light.” He went on to say that “American democracy is not a reality show.” Biden acknowledged that his confidence in America was tempered by realism about the challenges that we face. But despite the pressing realities that compelled him to make those comments, he concluded that he still believed that America’s best days were ahead and that we could survive the challenges. And, his words weren’t the hollow promises of a politician. His sincerity was clear in every line of his body.
Biden’s words reminded me, once again, of an important truth. That despite the difficulty of the times we live in — and specifically, many people’s insistence that DOJ speedily prosecute leaders responsible for the insurrection — it’s critical that accountability come in a way that’s consistent with American values. Unpopular though the sentiment may be, we cannot be in such a rush to preserve the rule of law that we end up destroying it.
That’s the reason, however, for much of the frustration with Merrick Garland. People are worried the rule of law has failed because we’ve seen few tangible signs of progress in holding high-level people responsible for the insurrection. While there are now indications an investigation is underway, there’s no certainty as to how high it goes or whether it will result in indictments.