I’m not keen on blame or retribution. I know that society has to seek out the guilty and try and punish them. It’s just not my thing. I recall my father, who was a Prisoner of War of the Japanese on the Burma railway, saying that he took no pleasure in the post war execution of evil Japanese PM Tojo. And Dad was far from bring a wishy-washy liberal !
The phrase “Justice has to be done and be seen to be done” worries me as well. Our concept of “justice” is arbitrary as is our concept of what punishment, if any, is appropriate. And the idea that punishment has to be “seen” leads us into very dark territory. I guess I’m more New Testament than Old. More “Turn the other cheek” than “An eye for an eye”.
The idea that victims are entitled to justice repellent as well. Justice has to be decoupled from victimhood. So when those who have suffered from some crime call for, for example, longer or mandatory sentences for that crime I worry. Inevitably emotion rather than reason would take over if the victims played any part in the sentencing process.
Which brings me to Donald Trump. Do I want to see him tried and punished for crimes committed? One bit of me says yes, for obvious reasons of decency. But on balance I think not. I really want this vile man to disappear from my consciousness for ever. Interminable trials and legal battles would occupy the media schedules at a time when we need desperately to move on.
So I guess I’m saying that I hope Joe Biden pardons Trump as Gerald Ford did Richard Nixon. I realise that this may not be a popular view. I do not absolve Trump from blame but I don’t associate myself with those salivating for retribution either. And to create a Martyr of the slime-ball I don’t think makes sense either.