Friday, June 9, 2017

"Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?"

     This was more than a casual reference to a 53 year-old movie. James Comey uttered this phrase to Senator Angus King in yesterday's testimony for some very good reasons.
     First and most chillingly, it underscored how literally a ruler's most casual comment can be taken by those beneath him. According to British legend, the monarch Edward II said it in a fit of pique at the end of his contentious relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury. The line passed into popular usage with the 1964 film, Beckett starring Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole. The very next day after the king's casual command, as the ironically-named Sen. King reminded us, four knights confronted Thomas Beckett at Canterbury and eventually assassinated him.
     Of course, Edward's grievances with the Archbishop of Canterbury were vastly different than Trump's with Comey. But the parallels are irresistible and Comey made a very telling observation with the quote.
     Indeed, Trump's entire administration from Day One has more resembled a despotic monarchy than a modern day democratic administration in a free republic. As with all despots, he demanded a loyalty oath from Comey during their private dinner together last winter. With Trump, loyalty is everything and those who are not loyal are enemies, or, as Eric Trump recently said in his eliminationist rhetoric to Sean Hannity, "not even people."
     Trump, dullard though he is, was barely smart enough to glean that Comey didn't swear fealty to him. This was proven when Trump learned Comey was spearheading an investigation into Michael Flynn's dealings with the Russians. While Trump may not have been the exact focus of the investigation, he nonetheless knew many in his administration, past or present, would lead directly to him. The fat spider in the center of the web sits in the center in case any of the outer strands are pulled.
     It's hard to believe that there's still debate on whether what Trump said to Comey constituted obstruction of justice. Comey flatly said he interpreted Trump's troubling comments as such- That his hamfisted attempts at discretion came off sounding like baleful edicts. Listening to Comey yesterday, one actually felt pity for him, especially among women who'd been powerless secretaries or subordinates who knew what it felt like to be pressured into doing something they didn't want by a more powerful male figure.
     And Trump's entire attitude toward governance more closely resembles a dictatorship or a despotic monarchy that considers the land one rules to be one led by men, or a single one, and not by law. And of course, at least in theory, the United States is run by, in the words of John Adams in the Massachusetts Constitution, "a government of laws and not of men."
     It's a distinction Trump has never understood (nor needed to in the corporate world), doesn't now nor ever will.

3 Comments:

At June 10, 2017 at 5:43 PM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

One thing to keep in mind is that Trump has always only ever run a private, family-owned business. He's never had a board of directors or shareholders to answer to. He's used to running his companies unopposed, just like a dictator. Why would the President of the United States behave any differently?

 
At June 10, 2017 at 7:23 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

This goes back to a point I made a few months ago. Trump has never faced serious adversity. Even his failures as a businessman and husband and father were glossed over, spun or ignored. Success, as I'd written, is a poor incubator of character. Character is only built through failure and the necessary self-improvement that should follow it.

 
At June 11, 2017 at 11:39 PM, Blogger Stan B. said...

He's had plenty of repeated failure, and as you've said, it's been "glossed over, spun or ignored" in the private sector- with no redemptive process ever in sight. And it continues to this day with his White House and fellow Repub cronies. Multiple moms employed to clean up junior's multiple messes.

We're living in two alternative universes, one fact and reality based- the other on the haphazard fictions of those that create and sustain it. While they exist in direct contradiction, their borders clashing increasingly more so, there still is no doubt the latter retains its power- nor will it give it up willingly, morally or... legally.

 

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