ARLENE VIOLET – Of course it’s all politics!

ARLENE VIOLET – Of course it’s all politics!

When I was running for public office I remember some of my supporters being angry with the incumbent because he (or more usually, his retainers) would criticize me. Taking umbrage they would protest, “This is all about politics!” Needless to say, I wasn’t too happy with their critiques either but the reality is that, while it was politics, if your opponent cannot point out why you shouldn’t be elected, who will? The back and forth of a political campaign should be expected. Candidates should aspire to tell the truth and not make things up but, if something about a candidate should make you think twice about casting your vote for that person, you should hear about it. Since the opposite party candidate has the motivation more likely than not it will come from a politician.

I was reminded about that 30-plus-years-old complaint since it seems that the same objection is being raised as the impeachment inquiry has rolled out. A recent North Providence resident wrote a letter to the editor of the Providence Journal, inquiring why Congress is investigating President Donald Trump and not Joe Biden instead. As you know, the allegation is that son Hunter Biden sat on a board of a Ukrainian energy company at a stipend of $50,000 per month while his father, Joe Biden, was vice president and that there was political interference with the then prosecutor in that country who was overseeing the company practices. The letter also asserted facts that are in contention but, the underlying reality is that the writer is correct: The Biden connection should be investigated as to whether funds were withheld from the Ukraine to protect his son. If true, Biden would have done exactly what he and his fellow Democrats are accusing the president of doing, i.e. bastardizing military aid for personal (or family) advantage.

But, here’s the rub. If true, both scenarios are dastardly. Neither man should be president if military aid is a bartering chip to advance a personal agenda. The incidences should both be investigated.

Some folks don’t understand what military aid to foreign countries is all about. Primarily, military financing provides grants for the acquisition of U.S. defense equipment, services and training. In other words it supports American munitions businesses, airplane manufacturing, etc. A country is selected for such aid to the degree that it is in the U.S. interest. In the Ukraine it is to resist incursions by the Russians in that country. In other places like Afghanistan, it is to resist terrorism that might be exported to the U.S. In other words, the recipient country is a vicarious beneficiary of the U.S. self- interest. Troops are in foreign countries precisely to protect U.S. businesses or shipping channels and sometimes the general populace from drug cartels or terrorists.

When someone in the White House parlays that aid for his own political interest he deserves the heave-ho if in office or should be eliminated from consideration for the office of president.

Political partisanship should not blind the public by making one guy the bad guy when it could be two (or none). The accusations here are substantial and the public has a right to know. The investigations of both men should commence and the facts – not fluff – should prevail.

Violet is an attorney and former state attorney general.


I was going to write something along the lines of "Mountain, meet molehill!" and point out the usual Trumpian false equivalencies and "whataboutism." Then toward the end I noticed this:

"When someone in the White House parlays that aid for his own political interest he deserves the heave-ho..."

Yes, he does!