The emergence of a sleeper resistance leader operating in the bowels of the Trump White House has set off alarm bells, warning the President that even in the bosom of his Administration he's surrounded by enemies. Of course, this isn't the first President in our history to feel hemmed in by enemies. I seem to recall that the 37th President in our history, some fellow named Richard Nixon also felt similarly threatened. He even went so far as to produce an enemies list.
Interestingly enough, when both Richard Nixon and Donald Trump felt so threatened, they turned to the FBI to help them confront such perfidy. Now Nixon took a more direct route. He actually called in the Director of the FBI at the time, one L. Patrick Gray, and asked him to use the good offices of the Bureau to cover up the Watergate scandal. It would seem that Donald Trump has more insidious plans for the Bureau, namely, to turn the FBI into his own personal secret police.
Oh, I know. It IS a bit of an exaggeration, and perhaps I'm reaching a bit too far. After all, Donald Trump wouldn't order an agent of the FBI to murder someone who stood in his way, would he? No, of course not, what WAS I thinking. So the comparison of the FBI to an odious, anti-democratic personal police force would seem a bit hyperbolic. But with Trump you can never be entirely sure.
The reason I say this is because Donald Trump has a fundamentally flawed vision about what our government should be about. In Trump's America, when you take your oath of office you swear allegiance to HIM and not to the Constitution of the United States. And this isn't just ME talking either. I wasn't the one who asked the former FBI Director for his personal loyalty. I didn't suggest that the Attorney General's primary responsibility was to watch the President's back. I'm not sure Donald Trump believes that members of our government owe their primary allegiance to the office of the President and to our Constitution. That would be too much an institutional view of government and I think Trump has something much more personal in mind. And THAT'S the danger.
We all know Donald Trump has an affinity for dictators and despots. All you had to do was watch him fawn over Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. And to be honest, it's entirely understandable. After all, that's the way he ran his business and his "business success" was the primary reason he won the Presidency in the first place. The danger with despotic government is that over time there develops around the despot a cult of personality, where the entire focal point of government is what the despot wants to do next. With someone with such a monumental ego as Donald Trump, such a development would be inevitable.
There is much that can be said for the author of the op-ed piece in the New York Times. The word cowardly comes to mind. Although when you consider Donald Trump's rather vindictive nature, perhaps anonymity should be taken for prudence. And, as they say, discretion is the better part of valor. While I doubt President Trump would pull a Putin and have the "resistance leader" injected with radioactive poison, I have no doubt whatsoever that Donald Trump would try to make the op-ed writer's life a living hell. So I can understand why he or she might want to avoid that kind of misery.
In the end, it call comes down to trust, doesn't it? How much would we trust President Trump's command of the FBI? Would he be satisfied in simply rooting out the identity of the "resistance leader"? Or would our "esteemed" President then turn his attention to the leakers in the White House, of which there are many? What would happen to any potential whistle blowers in the government? In the end, would President Trump, in a fit of pique, turn the FBI's attention to the institutions that published the leaks?
Yes, it all comes down to a matter of trust, and personally, I trust Donald Trump about as far as I can throw his rather bulky body. Thing is, for the most part, with perhaps one exception, all of our Presidents had too much respect for our democratic traditions to go over the line toward despotism. But, when you get right down to it, Donald Trump isn't a democrat, he's an autocrat. To place all-encompassing power in the hands of such a man is too much of a gamble to me. As Lord Acton observed: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely!".
Filed under: Politics