Friday, July 21, 2017 5:22 PM
The revolving door of this administration may have led Trump to believe that people simply come and go at his whim—and it may be that Jeff Sessions was watching Rachel Maddow the night the NYTimes-interview-with-Trump story was previewed by cable news. Most of the talk was of Jeff Sessions being likely to resign in the morning—but Ms. Maddow rightly pointed out that, right now, the president cannot fire special prosecutor Mueller—and has no hope of doing so, absent a resignation from Sessions.
Yes, the president can fire Sessions—but the replacement then becomes a bone of contention. If Sessions quits, Trump can name an acting attorney general, and some pro-Trump names have been suggested—people who might well fire Mueller—or, better yet, hamstring the investigation and let it starve to death.
(Later that evening: )
Okay, now it’s been announced that US intelligence intercepts of Russian transmissions reveal Ambassador Kislyak’s version of his meeting with Sessions—and it directly contradict Jeff’s version—you know—from his public hearing.
We ask how something so convenient could possibly happen in this cold, cold world? Especially, why should such fortune smile upon us right now—at this particular moment? Is now, perhaps, a bad time to start trusting what the Russians say—even if we obtain it through covert means?
Fictional detectives down through the ages have warned us against ‘coincidence’—would Holmes take this latest ‘leak’ at face value? Can this have been leaked by the White House to grease the wheels for Sessions’ firing—or simply discredit his word in the public forum?
I gotta tell ya—if Sessions wasn’t madder than a wet hen when he denied this ‘leak’ and repeated his testimony, then Jeff’s a helluvan actor. That sincerity of true outrage gave us a glimpse of the real feelings, missing from so many of these political ‘briefings’ nowadays, that you get from real people when they’ve been dishonestly maligned. He was PO’ed.
All this reminds me of former Director Comey. Jeff Sessions was Trump’s first legitimate political sponsor—and his biggest booster during the campaign. James Comey’s ill-timed announcements about Hillary’s investigation are seen as a major factor in her loss—if not the deciding one. I had no reason to root for either one of these guys, earlier on. As soon as either one becomes key to the Trump/Russia investigation, however, it suddenly seems like they are our only hopes.
An objective observer might characterize all this as a chess match, but I have a prejudiced take on it—I see it as Evil enthroned, made manifest by the accumulation of ego, avarice, partisanship and corruption that tirelessly eat away at the roots of democracy, constrained now (having control of the chief and the majority of the federal government) only by those dysfunctions that evil always imposes on itself.
People talk about the still, small voice (of God, of truth, of reason—you pick) that we sometimes hear—I know ‘conscience’ is a poor term for it, but it is the simplest. It is small only in that it must be ‘put away’ during the bustle of the workday or the fun of a party—like mathematics, conscience is an unwelcome interruption of our cruise through life, something we must stop and focus on.
Easy to ignore but, like mathematics, it can suddenly turn into a wall of steel or a dagger of ice. Conscience is always there, just out of sight, but we abuse it at our peril. Just as lust triumphant can render once-soulmates into a bored couple, evil dismissed can sour our very existence, every moment tainted with more pain than the one before.
If this isn’t true for you, dear reader, you must understand that for me it is so true that I can’t imagine you disagreeing with me—though surely many might. I’m pluralist in that way—I know that my world-view can’t be defended against practitioners of philosophy or psychology—I know that, in a way, I am wrong—but I am right in that way in which I choose to be.
And I believe that nobody can claim anything beyond that. Whether what I think of as ‘caring’ is a societal affectation, a neurosis, or some other befuddlement—I feel it. I don’t want to learn to stop feeling ‘care’—it would be like learning to see in black-and-white, a diminution.
One benefit of being empathetic is enjoying working as a group, as a team—relying on each other for support and coordination. Paranoia and egotism take away these advantages—careless people rarely work together as a team. This is one of the main self-imposed dysfunctions that hobble evil—we should always be grateful.
Empathy encourages sharing and generosity, which appear foolish from an economic standpoint, but in a society can strengthen and empower the whole. This is another benefit the careless miss out on. They see society as something that must be controlled, not something that must be cared for.
Regardless, the strengths of caring are brittle—one sour apple puts a catastrophic crack in the whole. Just as trust is powerful—when it works. These failings make selfishness seem a smarter choice—safer—but I always figured that the best kind of gambling was betting on the heart of every stranger. What is life without a little adventure?
Perhaps I’m painting this picture too broadly, trying to remake reality into what I wish it were. Never mind. Sometimes I get lost in my thoughts, and they get tangled.