Robert Mueller, Special Counsel for the Russia Investigation, published and released his first indictment, a 37-page bombshell. The indictment details the involvement of 13 Russian nationals who, through the use of social media, ID theft, and financial means, delegitimize the 2016 presidential election.
Conservatives were quick to point to the brief section of the indictment that indicated Russians were also “supporting” former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, arguing this proves the interference wasn’t pro-Trump. Taken out of context, this may seem viable. But when one actually reads the indictment, it’s unequivocally proven that the goals of these 13 defendants were to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and bolster Trump’s own rise to tyranny.
The defendants posed as left accounts and activists who were denouncing Clinton for president, organizing rallies, and gaining social media clout and support from the right as their tentacles spread-out. Fake accounts such as “Woke Blacks” and “United Muslims of America” continuously used the hashtags “#MAGA, #Hillary4Prison, amongst other overtly pro-Trump and anti-Clinton espousals.
These groups’ aims were to put Trump in the White House, who – to many – would seem an easier diplomatic partner to manipulate, since Clinton would have been unquestionably and boundlessly more qualified in handling every aspect of the presidency compared to the current excuse for a president.
It’s not a stretch to say that without this interference, we may be sitting here in February 2018 with the first female president in the White House.
The Russian interference played, and will continue to play, an integral and destructive role in our society if it’s not stopped.
But it’s not only destructive abuses that are omnipotent to our country — Russian interference does not, and will never, account for our own flaws. These are our internal strives that perpetrate a racial, gendered and class-based hierarchy. It’s one that we as a nation need to address more than anything.
It’s not Russian meddling that has resulted in numerous school shootings this year nor their interference that’s attacking the rights of women.
It’s not Russian obstruction that puts transgender people, especially trans women of color, at high risks of violence.
It’s not Russian interloping that has created a prison and criminal injustice system that grew out of slavery.
It’s not Russian snooping that allows for the upper 1 percent to control our entire economy.
It’s not Russian conniving that results in the abuse carried out to native populations.
It’s not Russia’s fault that we are a deeply flawed, unjust, and unequal society.
These are all our societal burdens. We need to address and answer these and a million other detriments to our country. Even without electoral meddling, we continue to elect politicians to various positions of power from the state level to the White House that don’t have progress and justice at the forefront of their beliefs. Russian prying cannot explain Gov. Scott Walker’s abuses to the UW System nor Speaker Paul Ryan’s tenure of attempting to ruin the lives of anyone less fortunate than him.
If we use Russian interference as a scapegoat for all of our problems, we’ll continue our own oppressive and twisted policies and there will never be progress. Even if our democracy is sealed and no foreign countries can interfere in it, these underlying diseases won’t be cured unless there’s change.
As Mueller continues his investigation into how Trump benefited from a deliberate attempt from Russian hackers to undermine our democracy, it’s imperative we understand electoral interference is not our only problem and it’s not even the tip of the iceberg. Politicians are dragging us down and beliefs in this country that attack our most vulnerable need to be tackled. We need to give reparations, we need income equality regardless of gender or race, we need fundamental basic rights for everyone.
Adam Ramer ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in history and political science.