The most important thing in the news yesterday was the UK general election. Not that you would know that from watching the BBC in North America. The public duel in the media between Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and his fired FBI Director. James Comey and Marc Kasowitz took center (centre – even!) stage well after polls had closed in the mother country.
I already tipped the substance of what the central sanctimonious blowhard had to say. So what do I have to bring to this over-coverage of the Comey testimony? Would that be Comey-Overage? Or is that too evocative of another central player in this daytime drama?
Some Under-covered Notes on James Comey and Marc Kasowitz
If you were watching CNN yesterday, and if you were a lobotomized baboon, you still came away with the impression that we are watching a “he said, he said”. The statements of Marc Kasowitz and James Comey are irreconcilable. Of course, many pointed out that the former FBI Director made his statements under oath and backed with contemporaneous memos. Thus far, Kasowitz and Trump have not spoken under oath in this case. If they say the same thing under oath, someone is committing perjury. [Edited to add: The President has now said that he would deny under oath the same specific allegations Kasowitz denied yesterday and again implied he might have tapes of the conversation. I imagine those tapes, if they exist, do not paint Trump in an overly flattering light, but may corroborate his narrow denials.]
But one thing I have not seen, heard, or read is that Trumps denials, at least those uttered through his attorney, are much narrower than James Comey’s assertions. That is, so much of Comey’s oral testimony relies on Comey’s own understandings of the situation – often of Trump’s mental state. I am trying to be more charitable to both men than to imagine a world in which Comey can read Trump’s mind. If Trump said anything substantially similar to asking Comey to drop Flynn or demanding his loyalty, the President must drop these denials before making them under oath. It is unclear whether he has done anything illegal yet, but lying to Congress or a special prosecutor is exactly how Trump goes down in a hurry.
One more under-covered tidbit: Kamala Harris is running for President. At least, she thinks she is. She prepped with her staff to ask every question they knew James Comey couldn’t answer in televised session. She knows the Comey testimony probably delivers more sizzle than steak. But all you need to run for office is the sizzle. And she could use the sizzle to drown out all that pesky free speech she had to deal with just last year.
A Prayer to Be Able to Forget Marc Kasowitz, James Comey, Even Donald Trump
But I must admit, watching the whole cage-match of Marc Kasowitz v. James Comey v. Donald Trump v. Democrats v. Republicans took my thoughts far away from the narrow scorecard of the event. Indeed, my chief takeaway from all this nonsense is simple. I don’t want any of these nut-bars having any influence on my life whatever. Let the games they play in the Colosseum of the New Rome be a diverting hobby for the small group of sadists we call political junkies. But don’t let it make a shade of difference to my daughter. Why would I want it to affect my pastor? What kind of monster would I have to be to want these people to matter to my neighbor?
“A government is a body of people usually notably ungoverned.”, to quote Shepherd Book from Firefly. And if the chief end of government is to restrain the evil of people, what happens to those ungoverned governors? The only real advantage of representative democracy is its ability to get rid of rulers with minimal bloodshed. In truth, perhaps the only solution is to keep getting rid of them until they become so insignificant we forget about them.
We were once told that it was shameful that America had such low election turnout. But this was actually an indicator of American genius. In this, it shared a characteristic with many supposedly shameful American idiosyncrasies. It’s much easier for everyone in the world to be wrong than right, after all. Ordered liberty is a narrow needle to thread. The countries with the highest turnout have always been the ones where if Hutu wins, he kills all the Tutsi. After those countries come the ones where if the Tutsi wins, he plunders all the Hutu and gives their wealth to the Tutsi.
Care About Your Neighbor; Mind the Fence
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want people to disengage from politics. Politics has invaded into every aspect of life. Rather, I want to see the tide reversed to the point that it may be possible to not care and not have your life ruined by that apathy. Good fences make good neighbors, after all. I have never understood how it is loving to my neighbor to give the ungoverned men with guns the power to either keep him from having to work or kill him in his own home.
The Left loves to talk about how rural people vote against their own economic interests by voting Republican. I want to know who’s interest it’s in to not be able to drive a quarter mile on a spare tire because companies are desperate to stay under the government’s silly, artificial CAFE regulations. Who benefits from a government unhindered from killing its own citizens with drones overseas? I would love to meet the citizen who thinks he has profited from the ever-increasing list of crimes that might lead to her imprisonment or his first and last interaction with police. When everything from public schools, to minimum wage, to zoning laws hurt the very people they are supposed to help, it seems like voting for a Democrat could go pretty badly for your interests too.
There are worse people than Marc Kasowitz. He’s just doing his job. There are worse people than James Comey. Like the people he stopped from besieging a hospitalized John Ashcroft to get his signature on warrantless wiretaps. There are worse people than Donald Trump, if only because they’re better at deceiving us. But most of them also work within 5 square miles of each other, between Maryland and Virginia.