Josh Campbell, former supervisory special agent at the FBI and special assistant to James Comey, wrote Crossfire Hurricane, a book that looks critically at the Trump administration from the inside. It’s spectacularly ugly. The Guardian has reviewed the book, and reports the following: “Crossfire Hurricane also turns it guns on Jeff Sessions, the former attorney general; Rod Rosenstein, the former deputy attorney general; William Barr, the current attorney general; and Sarah Sanders, Trump’s former spokeswoman. It is a target-rich environment.”
Reading about the accounts in this book made me realize something: We are very nearly broken. Conservatives in the Trump era have increasingly turned on an institution they once loved, namely, the intelligence community. It should be no surprise that as they eschew using the mechanisms of government for public service in favor of using them for self-enrichment, they withdraw from supporting agencies that have oversight powers against them. One of the two political parties in this country is, strictly speaking, in it for the green. Short term profits mean more to them than long-term viability (this includes political viability, viability of the US as a functioning nation, and most importantly, viability of keeping the earth habitable).
We sense the thinly-veiled self-interest. We read between the lines, we listen to words unspoken, and we pay attention to actions and not just words. Many Americans know what is at stake and know who is to blame. We are at the mercy of a den of thieves who, after having stolen so much from everyone else, appear to be stealing from each other. I’d say it’s Darwinian, but there isn’t anything natural about it. It’s a contrivance of greed in its most unnaturally evolved form – a kleptocracy by the kakistocracy. To them, nothing is off the table as long as it meets their needs, like soliciting hostile foreign adversaries to undermine our system.
Our nation is in turmoil. We’ve spent every one of the 240 years between 1776 and 2016 as a nation indivisible by a common goal — our great experiment. We have survived much. Since 2016, however, the experiment has been tampered with. I believe we can survive this new era of robber barons, but I do not know whether we will emerge with mere scars, a labored limp, or deep wounds. At this point, it might seem an appropriate place to say that “time will tell,” but that is insufficient. It must be said that our system is only as strong as the people want it to be. If we vote in more swindlers and demagogues, we will find their rule is incompatible with maintaining democracy (failed democracies exist as evidence of this). If we vote in rational people who at least make an effort to deliver the nation the best possible outcome, it will have a powerful detoxifying effect. As Patrick Henry once didn’t say, “Give me liberty, or give Trump a second term.” You can find the book here.