Thursday, June 8, 2017

New national holiday: Comey testimony

Today, June 8, 2017, the front page of the Los Angeles Times looked like this:

I was in San Diego, however, attending the graduation of my niece Millie from her year of internship as a doctor in the US Naval Medical Center near Balboa Park.  

Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., ex-director of the FBI James Comey was testifying to the Senate Intelligence Committee about dt pressuring him to drop the FBI investigation into contacts between Michael Flynn and key Russian figures.  

I couldn't listen to the full testimony from 7 to 10 am Pacific time because the graduation was at 9:30 am, but before joining my brother and sister-in-law to attend this event, I heard the first half hour. 

I heard these words:
"And although the law required no reason at all to fire an FBI director, the administration then chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader.
Those were lies, plain and simple, and I am so sorry that the FBI workforce had to hear them and I’m so sorry that the American people were told them."
As Comey said "Those were lies," I heard the break in his voice on the word lies.  

I realized that this moment was deeply emotional for him.  Being defamed and having the FBI described as "in disarray" were distressing events for him.

Here's the full transcript and video:

In San Diego, the open air graduation was festive and patriotic, strictly regulated according to protocol, rank, and respect.  

"Color guards, parade the colors."  There was much saluting.  The national anthem was played by the Navy Band Southwest as a Navy soloist sang. "Retire the colors."

All this earnest patriotism formed a contrast in my mind with the dirty drama playing out simultaneously in the Capitol.  

In response to questions about his private meetings and phone calls with the president, Comey was saying that Trump had never once asked about how to stop Russian undermining of our elections.

The words  our flag was still there struck me deeply in this context.  Some Russians would like our flag to be pulled down, our democracy to fail. 

Then came the words  long may it wave 
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave! 

I choked up and had to stop singing.  These young sailors and medical officers had made a commitment to protect the flag and the nation.  Uprightness, discipline, and courage were all around me.

But in Washington, our president didn't sound much interested in protecting the flag or our sovereignty.  Comey's attitude and demeanor seemed much like the scene before me, but dt's disrespectful behavior and flippant tweets loomed as a dark cloud over the day.

I thought about the chain of command: dt is the commander in chief of all these young graduates.  If he starts a war, these young medical officers will be sent to the conflict to save lives.

They respectfully salute officers of a higher rank.

He disrespects everyone around him.  

Though this drama had us laughing when it began, it is not a comedy.  It's a tragedy and dt is the character demonstrating hubris.

Hubris is extreme pride and arrogance shown by a character that ultimately brings about his downfall.
Hubris is a typical flaw in the personality of a character who enjoys a powerful position; as a result of which, he overestimates his capabilities to such an extent that he loses contact with reality. A character suffering from Hubris tries to cross normal human limits and violates moral codes. Examples of Hubris are found in major characters of tragic plays.

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