If the termites eating your house could talk, your stern query regarding just what, precisely, did they think they were doing would elicit a one-word response: progress. Read the anonymously bylined New York Times op-ed piece about the supposed “resistance” within the White House with the aforementioned, occasionally told adage in mind.
The writer calls President Donald Trump “amoral.” To a termite, the exterminator makes for a most amoral creature. Such terms often say something about the speaker as well as the spoken about. The writer here refuses to attach his name to his sentiments and refuses to resign from an administration with which he deeply disagrees. Instead, he undermines it. Where’s the morality there?
We agree with the boss in every instance only when we serve as the boss. And even then, hindsight forces us to disagree with the boss on occasion.
When we work for a boss they find “amoral” and “petty” and “erratic,” duty calls on us to resign. Weasels work to undermine and undercut the boss. Fundamentals of Marine Corps Leadership works as a good guide here. Experience does too. In a few instances, I harbored profound disagreements with bosses. In one instance, I opted to bolt and in another my speaking up loudly, but internally, precipitated my departure days later. The profound disagreements that shortened employment in a couple of instances involved, from my perspective, others fudging the truth (a graver offense in letters professions than even numbers ones). I don’t think the people fudging the truth understood themselves as doing this, so their judgment more than their honesty bothered me. These departures never involved political disagreements. They involved ethical disagreements or, perhaps, a divergence on matters of prudence. If you find someone else’s ethics at fault, the proper response involves not responding in kind but resigning–particularly if the ethical offenses ensnare you and make you complicit in them. When the shoe was on the other foot, and I served as the boss, I resented when underlings freelanced in an effort to undermine. So, I tried not to undermine when I served as an employee. Perhaps your experiences mesh with mine.
“This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state,” the writer insists about saboteurs inside the White House. “It’s the work of the steady state.”
Sugarcoat it however you want. The two lines validate Trump’s candidacy, his presidency, and even one of his most popular catchphrases: “Drain the swamp.” Trump’s supporters interpret the article as not an indictment of the president but a confirmation for why he ran and how he governs. Anonymous claims he governs ineffectively. The stock market and unemployment rate disagree. Our tax bills disagree. Conservatives dumbfounded by Harriet Miers and John Paul Stevens and David Souter disagree.
The states, through the Electoral College, made Donald Trump president. What right does an unelected political appointee possess to thwart the will of the electorate?
Anonymous’s perfidy runs deeper.
“Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president,” he writes. “But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.”
One way or another? Here, again, the writer exposes himself as an enemy of our republican form of government. He disagrees with Trump on foreign policy and trade and much else, so he sees it as his duty to not only inhibit an elected president’s policies but to diagnose him as mentally ill for holding views at variance with his own. There’s no mention of Trump declaring the official language Swedish or decreeing that his countrymen must now wear underwear on the outside, as the mad dictator in Woody Allen’s Bananas did. The proof of his instability offered involves his policy disagreements with the author.
Are Americans crazy for disagreeing with the entrenched political class that put us $21 trillion in debt, refused to enforce duly passed immigration laws, wasted American blood in unnecessary wars of choice, and engineered lopsided trade deals they dishonestly called “free trade”?
However unprecedented the Times article hits its readers, it stems from a familiar script. “Goldwater is mentally unbalanced,” union leader Walter Reuther claimed during the 1964 presidential campaign. “He needs a psychiatrist.” Lyndon Johnson’s infamous “daisy” commercial unsubtly attempted to buttress this point. Ronald Reagan’s enemies frequently hinted at the president’s senility. A former aide to Nelson Rockefeller finding himself working in the Reagan administration even wrote a memo urging consideration of invoking the 25th amendment in the wake of the Iran-Contra affair. Donald Trump faces the same indecency. The old poison just comes in new bottles.
A fifth columnist always imagines himself as a patriot. That’s how traitors rationalize perfidy. In any nation with anything resembling a republican form of government, some citizens always profoundly disagree with the elected leader. Elections—not the 25th Amendment, frivolous attempts at impeachment, or something more diabolical—work as the proper corrective to policy disagreements. Clearly the deep state, the steady state, the swamp, or whatever you wish to call it sees itself as above such nuisances and trivialities as elections.