Tragedy

May. 10th, 2017 09:08 pm
catsittingstill: (Default)
[personal profile] catsittingstill
Okay, yeah, so I'm not writing here much right now. But something happened to me today I want to talk about a bit.

My iPad keyboard/cover had been behaving a bit erratically the last couple of days. I'd hit the space bar and the cursor would just glide across the screen as if I was holding the space bar down. So I made an appointment at the Genius Bar and when Kip was done with office hours we drove to Knoxville, and that gave me a chance to knit a bit more on my latest pussyhat (don't think I like this variegated yarn as much as I might) and talk.

And since one of the things I'd been doing today was chalking reminders on the sidewalk that people could call their Senators and Congressman to demand an Independent Prosecutor investigate Trump's Russian ties (yes, I'm pissed off that a sitting president has fired the man investigating him) Comey's name came up, as it does.

I don't even remember exactly what it was that Kip said, but he made me suddenly realize that Comey's behavior models reasonably well as as that of a man trying to preserve the *appearance* of impartiality and indifference to politics by grandstanding at Clinton's expense in the mistaken belief that her margin of victory would be great enough, or the damage his grandstanding caused small enough, that she would still win the election.

If that is really what happened, in a way he's a tragic figure. Because instead of convincing anyone of his impartiality and indifference to politics, he instead destroyed the appearance of impartiality, abandoned impartiality itself, swung election, and put an utterly unqualified man in charge of the US.

Then he presumably thought that at least he could redeem himself by conducting an impartial investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia--only to discover that Trump was perfectly willing to fire him for doing that, even though he'd thrown the election to Trump to begin with.

Thus just as in classical tragedy, we get the catastrophe phase: Comey destroyed his reputation, his career, his bureau, and his country because of his arrogance in believing he could judge how close the election would be and his pride in his appearance of impartiality, fearlessness, and indifference to politics. His strengths became the seed of his, and our, destruction.

No wonder morale at the FBI is so low right now.

This is all speculation, of course. It's possible, even likely, that Comey's destruction of Clinton's candidacy was deliberate and malicious, done because the FBI is a political tool of the Republican Party and has been for mor than fifty years, and that Trump knew Comey was a crook but wasn't completely confident he was *Trump's* crook.

But it's a haunting scenario, you know?

Date: 2017-05-11 10:18 am (UTC)
gingicat: drawing of me based on wedding photo (Default)
From: [personal profile] gingicat
It's certainly plausible. And, yeah, haunting.

Date: 2017-05-11 05:02 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tigertoy
I think you could form a classic Greek tragedy around the situation, but reading or watching the tragedy would not give me any more sympathy for Comey or less disgust for how Trump handled it. Perhaps this post isn't the right place to go more into detail about that.

I'm not as familiar with Greek tragedies as perhaps I should be, but what I remember of the ones we studied in high school literature was that the initial transgression that launched the whole chain of events wasn't important enough to justify the rest of the story. But perhaps I'm projecting my own standards when I judge that transgression.

Date: 2017-05-12 01:17 am (UTC)
u_must_b_joking: (Default)
From: [personal profile] u_must_b_joking
That is a thought provoking take on it.

Date: 2017-05-15 04:49 am (UTC)
randwolf: (Default)
From: [personal profile] randwolf
It's very possible. Comey got the job because of his reputation for integrity.

We are back into aristocratic politics, where character matters a lot more than in democratic politics. If an official in a democracy fails, well, then there are always people to replace them, because it's the office that is important, not the person. But with Republicans, more and more it is particular people who count. So there is a lot of stress on the particular people and they often make mistakes, the way people under stress do. Even a tough old cop can get tired.

Date: 2017-05-15 09:29 pm (UTC)
randwolf: (Default)
From: [personal profile] randwolf
Josh Marshall (publisher and editor of Talking Points Memo) proposed a similar hypothesis: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/how-to-understand-james-comey

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