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How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals

Photo by thierry ehrmann | CC BY 2.0

Be careful what you wish for! These days anyone with even a a modicum of intelligence is looking in all sorts of places to find hope and the darkness is so fuc#@%g all-encompassing that those with any remaining ideals will travel great distances, real or imaginary, for sustenance. People take sustenance wherever they can get it. We all live in an insane society with political, economic, and social systems from hell… well, at least for some. It’s that simple and that complex.

Once in a circus environment, one thinks in terms of clowns and high-wire acts: it’s all very scintillating and abysmally tragic. We live in a society and larger world peopled by many lethal clowns. It’s no surprise that Trump is president in such a place. We’ve had decades of preparation awaiting his coronation, so why be so shocked at his shocking behavior?

Former FBI Director James Comey has come to our rescue in the face of the enveloping darkness and he is now a hero to some liberals. Let’s get rid of Trump any way we can, the line of reasoning goes, no matter that Pence is a more ideologically far-right actor and has organization and credentials in the political system that Trump never had. Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty (2017), has been the subject of all manner of commentary from those who received advance copies. It is now out in print. The book unmasks the dog that everyone already knows Trump is. His outrageous misogyny alone will be the subject of an endless number of future doctoral dissertations, if indeed there is any future at all. Again, Trump is the logical result of an insane system not meant to work for the average Jane and Joe. No matter that Comey supported the use of torture during the administration of George W. Bush: He’s now a credible actor. No matter that he is a multimillionaire who went to work for one of the largest war contractors, in fact the largest of them all: Lockheed Martin: He’s now a credible actor. No matter that he said that police have tough jobs so we sort of need to understand how some police behave in minority communities: He’s now a credible actor with unquestionable credentials!

Richard Wolffe’s opinion piece in the Guardian is illuminating in these matters: “The fact that Comey’s email declarations helped Clinton lose the election, and the fact that Trump himself employed Comey, is neither here nor there. Talk about a slimeball! (“James Comey helped Trump win. Now he wants to undo his mistake,” April 16, 2018). Here we go again. Hillary Clinton, the candidate, did not lose the 2016 election, it was James Comey who did it. Amazing!

A critical reader might pause and think about the federal agency that Comey comes from. During the 1960s and early 1970s, protesters and those coming to protest later know that the national police, the FBI, has historically worked assiduously to undermine protest in the US. It’s worked against the Constitution’s so-called protected rights of free speech and protest. Cointelpro (Counter Intelligence Program), the brain child of J. Edgar Hoover, was the logical result of a political and economic and social system bent at keeping the economic elite in power and making sure the world was a safe place for US war making and the profits of warmongers. Anyone on the left, and especially liberals, who think that the former FBI director, Comey, is a knight in shining armor need to look at the history of the  FBI.

For those still chomping at the bit over the emails that Comey released just prior to the 2016 general election, which created some issues for Hillary Clinton, it might help to refresh people’s memories that Clinton was as much of a product of the perverse political and economic and social systems that produced Trump, and was a weak candidate without any help from the bizarre narcissist Trump.

Here is James Comey discussing his newly released book with a live audience: “I would rather not have been involved, honestly,” Comey said. “I would rather Hillary Clinton never had to use a personal email system. I would rather Anthony Weiner never had a laptop.” (“James Comey faces the public’s questions at New York book event,” CNN, April 18, 2018). How about some observations about why the Comeys and Trumps and Clintons of this world have “evolved” as the faces of a political system meant to serve the economic elite and warring class?

The historical record shows that the FBI had its hands in the murder of Black Panther Fred Hampton. One of the more notable dirty tricks campaigns of the FBI was waged against the late actor Jean Seberg. These campaigns on the part of the national police were just the tip of an iceberg of actions against dissent that didn’t end with the demise of the1960s’ counterculture and protest movements.

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Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).

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