The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming, to arms, to arms, to arms!
The interpretation of the recent Comey testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee seems to miss perhaps the most telling point: while James Comey was insulting the President as much as he could, the most telling blows were directed at Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. First, the allegation of purported lies by the Trump administration criticizing leadership at the FBI, most of which was based on the detailed Rosenstein memorandum to the Attorney General (which cited a number of important sources), but perhaps even more telling, the claim that Mr. Comey’s leaking of a “personal” memorialization of at least one conversation with the President was undertaken with a view towards ensuring the appointment of a special counsel, an aspiration justified only if Mr. Rosenstein lacked the character and ability to conduct the investigation himself. Thus the issue of credibility was not so much between Mr. Trump and Mr. Comey, but much more so between Mr. Comey and Mr. Rosenstein.
While Mr. Comey is a self-confessed coward prone to confusion and “shock” with apparently no understanding of his ethical obligations in an organizational setting and all too willing to distort facts for political purposes (e.g., the Loretta Lynch “matter”), his apparent adversary, Mr. Rosenstein, is respected by Democrats and Republicans alike for his competence, intelligence and independence. Mr. Comey failed in the loyalty due the President, not by failing to carry out his aspirations concerning General Flynn or confirming the fact that the President was not under investigation, but rather in not advising him that such requests, assuming they were accurately portrayed by Mr. Comey, at the very least had an appearance of impropriety whether or not they were actually improper. Further, if in fact Mr. Comey interpreted the President’s “hope that General Flynn might be let go” as a directive, then it was his duty to either comply with the directive or resign. He did not even bother to bring it to the attention of the chain of command in place to ethically and legally resolve such issues as was legally required if he believed it might involve a crime; rather, he quickly spread gossip to cronies and drafted self-serving memoranda, an attribute the public normally improperly attributes to a poor maligned mammal, the weasel.
Mr. Comey has been savagely criticized by both Democrats and Republicans for his ineptitude, grandstanding and poor judgment but interestingly, in sequential rather than bipartisan fashion. That says as much about both political parties as it does about Mr. Comey. The foregoing is not to say that the inept and classless manner in which Mr. Comey was dismissed was not inappropriate. It was. And it was all too likely to result in unethical and inappropriate reactions by Mr. Comey, given his character and ethical deficiencies. But if the Senate hearings demonstrated anything, it was that Mr. Comey did not deserve any position of public trust, in any administration, at any time.
The utterly partisan reactions to Mr. Comey’s Senate testimony also provide much more meaningful information than did the testimony itself. Congressional testimony has all too little to do with the quest for truth and the design and implementation of policies to attain the common welfare, but rather, are almost exclusively focused on the quest for politically opportune “gotcha” moments with the goal of grasping political power, even if the testimony has to be tortured beyond recognition.
While distortion starts with the hearing participants, such distortion is immediately magnified by the propaganda creation and propagation machinery we think of as the free and independent mass media but which is in large part, more a continuing seminar in unhealthy creative writing, not merely inept but rather malevolent, not the heart that circulates the accurate and complete information required for a healthy functional democracy but a cancer on the body politic designed more to cause political narcolepsy than to inform. If truth were relevant to journalism, perhaps it ought to impose upon itself the rule imposed upon our military personnel with respect to political advocacy, avoid it, or else.
One might think the foregoing was a recent distortion, a recent blemish on an otherwise noble profession and even something isolatable. But alas for us, that is probably not true. But then, truth in general is even more elusive than the bluebird of happiness.
Truth today seems almost as strange a phenomena as quantum mechanics, perhaps even more so. It’s gone from absolute albeit difficult to discern to relative, and now, to irrelevant. Perhaps the latter is what it has always been. Irrelevancy resolves the absolute-relativist argument with history as a sort of distillation of such irrelevancy. The more one studies history, analyzes it and seeks to put it to proof, the more irrelevant truth seems to have always been.
Irrelevancy theory, were one to exist (perhaps it does), would posit that what really happened doesn’t matter, what matters is what we can be led to believe; in essence, it posits that bootstrapping is an efficient phenomena that requires no justification if it can generate desired results. That certainly seems true where majority-vote, no matter how obtained, determines results. The premise is “believe what we write not what you would remember if you really tried”.
History is thus not a science or an art from which we strive to glean lessons so that we can improve our decisions but a creative fiction from which we can glean planted insights that will lead to predetermined decisions even if they don’t work, since we can obviate that problem by merely declaring that they did. Art is not a quest for truth portrayed beyond the surface (whether above or below) but rather a manipulative, derivatively behaviorist tool with an irrelevancy. Art’s function is merely the assurance of the perception of happy endings, even if without the aid of behaviorist prompts we’d not “recall” them, memory also being irrelevant.
Creative truth, has a “nice” ring to it.
Unfortunately, consequences seem unaware of its charms.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved
Guillermo Calvo Mahé is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia. Until recently he chaired the Political Science, Government and International Relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science, law, international legal studies and translation studies and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.