World Series crowd yells “lock him up!” at Trump. Here’s why it’s not just okay, but to be lauded.

Donald Trump showed his face at the World Series last night, and was immediately greeted with boos, and jeers of “lock him up!” Some pundits, like MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, criticized the latter. Which raises the question of whether such concerns are legit, and even relevant so far into the kleptocracy that is the Trump administration.

Of course, it was Trump and his campaign crowds who started the “lock her up!” jeers about Hillary Clinton nearly four years ago. The concern back then was that a presidential candidate was fueling a fascist chant for the jailing of their political opponent. That’s a far cry from a group of random citizens meeting their leader for the first time, and expressing condemnation of his very-real crimes. The former is what third-world despots do; the latter, democracies.

But what if the chants at Trump’s rallies had only come from Trump’s crowds, and not been fed by Trump and his top supporters, like Michael Flynn — would they then have been acceptable? I don’t think so, because the underlying motivation was the same: To trump democratic norms in order to jail someone you simply don’t like (and who isn’t even in office). That’s not what’s motivating the anti-Trump crowd at the World Series. First, their jeers were in part a joke: Giving Trump a taste of his own medicine. But they were also more than that. Trump is running the most corrupt presidency in memory, and so far getting away with it because his own party refuses to hold him responsible to the rule of law. Trump is not only gaining personally (and financially) from his time in office, but he’s using the office of the presidency to harm those he perceives as his enemies (e.g., illegally steering a huge Pentagon contract away from Amazon because it owns the Washington Post). And law enforcement can’t lift a finger to stop him: Special Counsel Mueller found that Trump had obstructed justice on multiple counts, but he wasn’t permitted to indict. And just last week, Trump’s lawyers argued in court that he could literally shoot someone dead on Fifth Avenue, and the courts couldn’t hold him responsible.

There are legitimate concerns that Trump is not being held responsible for crimes that would have long-since ended the presidency of any Democrat (or most Republicans for that matter). When the World Series crowd shouts “lock him up!”, they’re calling for a restoration of our democracy, not a putsch to usurp it. And that’s why it’s entirely different than what happens at Trump rallies, and is therefore not only acceptable, but imperative.

As for Joe Scarborough’s concern that “we do not want the world hearing us chant ‘Lock him up’ to this president or to any president,” I disagree. This is exactly what the world needs to hear from America. The world needs to hear that we are still a country of laws, still a functioning democracy, and that Americans haven’t all collectively lost our minds.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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