By Judge Wendell Griffen,
Donald Trump has fired James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who may have done more to single-handedly cause the defeat of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Trump’s election as the 45th president of the United States in 2016.
Trump’s May 9, 2017 late afternoon firing announcement was achieved with typical Trump clumsiness, disdain for truthfulness, and impudence. Comey was not summoned to the White House. Trump did not look Comey in the eye like an honorable person and deliver the news that Comey was being sacked. Trump didn’t ask for Comey’s resignation, either directly or through a White House emissary (such as the White House chief of staff). Instead, Donald Trump issued a letter that the White House publicized to the world while James Comey was in California on a FBI recruiting trip.
Add cowardice to the long and growing list of President Trump’s character flaws.
Firing Comey didn’t solve a single problem facing the United States. But it clearly achieved one Trump objective. James Comey no longer leads the ongoing criminal investigation about the relationship between the Trump presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s personal and family business activities, and Russia, the foreign government that directly meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign which Trump ultimately won. Donald Trump no longer has to worry about Comey announcing anything, as FBI director, about Trump’s financial empire and crime. Donald Trump does not have to worry about James Comey, as director of the FBI, calling him a crook.
Does this mean Donald Trump isn’t a crook? NO!
Does this mean James Comey won’t someday call Trump a crook? No, but if that happens, Trump will say Comey would be calling him a crook because Comey was fired.
Does this mean Arkansas politicians and voters – the people who backed Trump’s candidacy with their money, votes, and influence – will distance themselves from Trump’s presidency? I doubt it. You see, Arkansas politicians, Arkansas voters, and anyone else capable of basic moral judgment, have always known enough about Donald Trump to realize he is a crook.
Trump is many things, but he isn’t an unknown or mysterious character. He is a narcissistic maniac whose addiction to attention, greed, and disregard for morality appears to be boundless. In many respects, he reminds one of an inferior model of George W. Bush and the people President Bush “43” chose as closest advisors.
Don’t take my word for it. Consider Donald Trump in light of what Kurt Vonnegut said about George W. Bush, with Vonnegut’s usual boldness and clarity, in his last book, A Man Without A Country (Random House, 2007, edited by Daniel Simon).
George W. Bush has gathered around him upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka Christians, and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or PPs, the medical term for smart, personable people who have no consciences. [This is obviously true about Donald John Trump]
To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athlete’s foot . . .
PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose! . . .
So many of these heartless PPs now hold big jobs in our federal government, as though they were leaders instead of sick. They have taken charge of communications and the schools, so we might as well be Poland under occupation.
They might have felt that taking our country into an endless war was simply something decisive to do. What has allowed so many PPs to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. They are going to do something every fuckin’ day and they are not afraid. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reasons that they don’t give a fuck what happens next. Simply can’t. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves! Privatize the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody’s telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! Fuck habeas corpus and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss my ass!
The political word that describes what Vonnegut wrote about is fascism. According to the Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary, fascism is a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government.
Donald John Trump is what fascism looks like in the 21st Century version of the United States. This is what Arkansas voters and politicians openly embraced, cheered, funded, and must now be held accountable for inflicting on our own people, the rest of the nation, and the whole world.
The fascist personality profile and moral character Vonnegut decried in A Man Without A Country more than a decade ago contaminates all three branches of state government in Arkansas.
- Governor Asa Hutchinson’s administration high-handedly dissolved the democratically-elected board of directors for the Little Rock School District January 28, 2015. The Little Rock School District is governed by State Education Commissioner Johnny Key, an unelected ruler and former state legislator who is unaccountable to the parents, children, and employees of the state’s largest and most diverse public school district.
- State legislators cut taxes needed to support vital public services to schools, workers, persons who are sick, and to preserve our environment as a healthy place for all persons. The legislators did this so they could give tax breaks to wealthy persons.
- The state supreme court refused to rule in an appeal from a lower court decision in favor of marriage equality. State legislators wanted to impeach the lower court judge who ruled in favor of marriage equality, but said nothing about the state supreme court’s refusal to decide the appeal.
- The state correction department engaged in deceitful conduct to acquire a drug from a pharmaceutical distributor. Then it rushed to use the drug to kill four death row inmates last month before the drugs expired.
- The state attorney general appears to have known about the deception and worked to prevent trial judges from holding evidentiary hearings about it.
- The state supreme court and attorney general worked together to prevent the distributor from retrieving its drug product by defying longstanding legal procedures and principles about fairness, integrity, and transparency in court proceedings.
- Now legislators want to impeach a judge who followed Arkansas law because they dislike the way the judge ruled and disapprove of the way he practices his religion. Yes, I’m that judge.
- Arkansas voters appear unconcerned, for the most part, or not concerned enough to do anything to the politicians responsible for these and other abuses of power.
The Bush-Trump version of fascism not only exists in Washington, DC and Arkansas. Versions of it are also present in Kansas, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, to name a few obvious examples. Fascism is what government now looks like and how it behaves in various parts of the United States and across state government in Arkansas.
What will we do about it? What will you do about it?
In the words of actor and comedian Arsenio Hall, “let’s get busy.” As our emerging leaders (sometimes termed “millennials”) now say, “stay woke.”