A pardon for Enrique Tarrio is a betrayal of our democratic system

Court sketch shows the former chairman of the far-right Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, at his sentencing for seditious conspiracy and other charges related to Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots, on Sept. 5, 2023. Sketch by William J. Hennessy Jr.

PantherNOW Editorial Board

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has hinted that he may be open to pardoning Proud Boy’s leader Enrique Tarrio, who has been sentenced to 22 years for his part in the January 6 riot. It is in his best interest to ponder on the role of the president and reconsider whether granting a pardon is in the nation’s best interest.

Similar to many of his actions, it’s not hard to determine that this scheme currys the favors of the Republican Party that DeSantis defends. 

But when a federal judge hands down a punishing sentence of 22 years to someone who attacks the Capitol, it means that he and the jury are aware of the magnitude of these actions. They recognized that in the face of such outrage, justice ought to act swiftly to deter similar tendencies in the future and safeguard democracy. 

Tarrio is the ideological leader of a grieving right-wing extremist group who sought to subvert the people’s will by having his own prevail. He rules by a distorted version of how this democracy works. 

On Jan. 6, 2021, the entire world witnessed delusional ideas and their believers who tainted the symbol of a revered democratic system. He was behind it all. He is not a rectifier of the system; he is what is wrong with the system. 

Should DeSantis become president, he shall be in charge of guarding this system. This system relies on the commitment, based on the required oath, to protect it from all enemies, be they foreign or domestic. 

It places on their shoulders the immense responsibility to strike those enemies who want to destroy it.

This case becomes even more severe when one considers the politically sensible nature of this issue. A democracy must be armed with essential tools to ensure its functions. One of which is the administration of justice.  

Hypothetically speaking, if DeSantis proceeds to pardon Tarrio upon assuming the presidency, he would be scandalizing to the spirit of the Constitution.

Why would the chief executive not support justice regarding such an important matter? 

We recognize that the right to pardon is an arbitrary power granted solely to the president for them to use at will unilaterally. But is that any reason to abuse it? 

The American president can pardon those accused of any federal crime, but nowhere in the Constitution does it say that this power can be used recklessly. Instead, it is a prerogative that must be used wisely. 

Pardoning Tarrio is unwise, in utter ignorance of the clear statement that justice wants to make. 

The purpose of a trial by jury is to give society a chance to weigh in on the matter. Subverting such an essential and democratic role in an unprecedented situation amounts to ignoring society’s opinions.

When the executive branch undermines the interests of justice to score political points, it is a bad sign for any healthy democracy. If Desantis becomes the leader of this nation, he should be responsible and recognize that some things transcend political intentions. He should heed the voice of reason and grapple with the fact that this situation goes far beyond himself. 

DeSantis must know that a democracy cannot resist the charge of multiple assailants who harm it with impunity. Tarrio assailed the system, and we believe justice has taken care of him. That is final.

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