Eastman East of Eden

Is it a crime to subject one’s children to conserva-rage talk radio? I don’t mean your septum-pierced, skinny-jean-wearing poli-sci majors sighing and eye-rolling in the passenger seat. But your pre-school lassies and bairns who are happy enough to not grasp what a “congressman” really does. (I’m not sure I understand it anymore either. Shuffle fisc dollars around and trade stock based on insider tips?)

A case can faithfully be made that subjecting minors to Hertzian right-wing waves breaks some law, in my estimation, especially if you’re abusing their cerebrum with Sean Hannity’s bromidic bluster. And I’d be guilty, as I frequently force my kids to listen to local DC gab shows hosted by the most pathetic of creatures: Washington Republicans. (By “forcing my kids to listen” what I really mean is tune in for two minutes before Mickey Mouse Clubhouse hits are demanded.)

On a recent afternoon, while shuttling my youngest home in the airy April shadows cast by “Server Valley,” we were aurally accompanied by the Vince Coglianese Show. Vince, who has the oil-slicked drawl of a used-car salesman, was interviewing Newsweek editor Josh Hammer about an actual crime: John Eastman’s legal counsel to President Trump.

Errrrrr… wait. Did I say actual crime? Language really does shape our thinking, especially when it’s repeated ad nauseam in prosy news reports where the authorship, if it already isn’t AI-generated, may as well be outsourced to a Macedonian content farm.

John Eastman, who was one of those jowly “thinkers” unknown outside highbrow conservative circles, has reached a state of felonious infamy for his role in advising President Trump on how to challenge, and ultimately overturn, the 2020 presidential results. By advising, I mean the lawyerly term of art: drafting memos. In those wild and wooly days of late 2020, Eastman scribbled recondite legal analysis with a cockamamie scheme to have Mike Pence, through sheer force of will and delusion, hand Trump Electoral College votes meant for Joe Biden.

The Eastman play was part of a larger madcap schema to reverse the 2020 election outcome—Pence discounting assigned votes was only a piece. Trump’s litigation team slapped up flimsy lawsuits in multiple states, alleging the Covid-driven easing of voter requirements didn’t pass constitutional muster. The chaotic, sporadic, and incompetent effort, spearheaded by grifters and a hyperhidrosising Rudy Giuliani, was uniformly dismissed.

What part did Eastman play in this hilariously inept, swivel-eyed conspiracy? He, in a fashion humiliating even for a lawyer, addressed January 6th protesters-cum-rioters before their Capitol pandemonium, wearing a dun overcoat and clashing red-print scarf, insisting dead people decided the election for Biden. But mostly, Eastman did as legal beagles do: drafting jargony docs to justify the challenge, none of which were offered serious consideration by any judge. I’d wager my money that no robed gavel-banger could make it through his convoluted argument about the 12 Amendment’s imprecise language and the contradictions within the Electoral Count of 1887 without passing into a deep coma of boredom.

Eastman asserts that President Trump never asked Vice President Pence to reject electoral votes, but merely “send [them] back to the States to recertify,” which is one of those litigiously twisted phrases that makes JD-less normies want to scrub their skin with searing water and formaldehyde.

Would Mike Pence presiding over an assembled Congress demanding votes be sent back to respective states of origin have changed anything? Wouldn’t they just be given the same approving imprimatur and boomeranged back? Did this half-baked strategy have even the faintest shot in the dark of working?

Only the most delusional MyPillow buyers believe Pence’s electoral volleyball had a chance of succeeding. But John Eastman was employed to apply constitutional patina to the hail-mary play. And in America, even the most odious cretins are allowed legal counsel, as John Adams nobly demonstrated.

Since outlining and—cue juridical term that makes me sound wicked smart!—adumbrating a means for Trump to secure re-election, Eastman has paid a troubling price. He’s lost numerous sinecure titles at lofty sounding institutions—which is to be expected since such appellations are prizes of social competition anyway. He was dragooned into retirement—an effective firing—from Chapman University, another predictable outcome, as higher education has long replaced the battle of ideas with pretentious striving.

But his discrediting goes further. A California judge is recommending he be stripped of his law license. Eastman is still fending off other prosecutions, including the RICO charges by Georgia DA and homewrecker Fani Willis. He was perp-walked and mugshotted, then forced to pony up millions in legal fees. Then, just to twist the knife already plunged to the hilt into his side a little more, Eastman is being booted from holding accounts at Bank of America and USSA. Hammer reports that both banks recently contacted Eastman, noticing him that he had 30 days to close his accounts.

So Eastman, who five years ago was just another grey-haired law lecturer polemicizing arguments in the Claremont Review of Books, is worse than persona non grata. He has been rendered unemployable, unpayable, unhostable, and, to add a Stalinist touch, unlivable. Eastman is now a man owing a debt he can’t earn money to pay for, and, if he did find a way to remuneratively ply his talents, he’d have nowhere to store it. My nose may be clean and I have little knowledge of how law firms accept payments, but I’m guessing they don’t accept banded wads of green.

This kind of categorical exclusion—techno-modern herem—isn’t just Hawthornean shame. It establishes a new caste of untouchables, who are disallowed from functioning in society. Could Eastman even receive a loan for a blender at this point? What financier would risk the wrath of a leftie cancelation campaign?

The centralization and digitization of the economy, which has smoothed payment processing, has been a boon to productivity. But the downside is that access to our diffused money system can easily be gated.

What happens to someone cast out of the economy with nobody to rely on for basic necessities? Is it not a death sentence by a more subtle, and thus more nefarious, means?

John Eastman may be a crank who stirred noxious distrust in our democratic process, but that shouldn’t warrant a slow and painful capital punishment. Now the best he can hope for is bartending for tips in a Santa Fe taproom, drinking away America’s descent into soft totalitarianism.

Hey, Johnny! A rye on the rocks for the way down! And don’t cheat me on the fingers like those Philly ballot chasers, amiright?

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Free the People publishes opinion-based articles from contributing writers. The opinions and ideas expressed do not always reflect the opinions and ideas that Free the People endorses. We believe in free speech, and in providing a platform for open dialog. Feel free to leave a comment!

Taylor Lewis

Taylor Lewis writes from Virginia.

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