No reckoning: History shows polite, liberal society will sanitize, ignore and absolve the crimes of the Trump administration

"If I'm asked to serve, I'll serve," the senior partner said coyly. We were at one of Washington, D.C.'s Michelin-starred restaurants, treated to a multi-course dinner as a thank-you to me and another associate for our hard work on a recent case. The other junior associate, who, like me, was a self-professed liberal woman in her late 20s, beamed at him. We both knew he was talking about a coveted position in the Trump administration's Department of Justice. It was late spring of 2017. The administration had already imposed its "Muslim ban" and was beginning to gut protections for asylum seekers. Family separations would begin later that summer. No one asked him what "serving" in a Department of Justice led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions meant to him.

I think about that moment often. When I read that former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein purposefully pursued a policy of separating mothers from their infant children, or read about whatever fresh atrocities this administration has enacted, I picture the feigned humility of the partner. It was a smug kind of glee that I saw on his face that night, barely disguised, conjured up by the idea of having a role in the highest levels of government. He was a senior partner at one of the largest international law firms, where he easily made a few million dollars a year. This move was not about money. It was about prestige and power. It was a feather in his hat. It is that desire to amass accolades, at any cost, that underlies so much violence and harm in our world.

Keep reading... Show less