Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The news, like rust, never sleeps.

Since January 20, I have been trying to avoid the daily national news cycle because the national news frequently has the effect on me of creating a lot of anxiety and if I am going to worry about things I can't control, I would rather worry about things closer to home (which I also can't control but that is a separate issue).  This tweet by Dana Linzer explains why following the daily news cycle can be exhausting.

For the most part my efforts have been successful in that I do not feel I am as anxious about current events. For example when people got upset about President Trump's executive orders regarding people traveling to the USA, courts had blocked the order before I even tried to inform myself about what was going on. So from my perspectives the system checks and balances created by the Constitution worked fine.
I bring this up as a way of explaining that I am a little confused about all the anxiety surrounding the firing of James Comey. Last time I checked in, my liberal friends were upset about Director Comey bringing up Clinton's email problems again right before the election and my conservative friends thought that Director Comey was a hero for upholding the principle that no person is above the law.
However, now I see that my liberal friends are very unhappy that Director Comey has been fired at a time when he was trying to keep President Trump accountable under the law while my conservative friends seem to think Director Comey deserved to be fired for playing politics.
One view of these events would be that Director Comey's principles did not change but support for the principle varies in proportion to which political party is currently benefiting from the principle. I hate that view because it suggests that everyone is a hypocrite. If everyone is a hypocrite, then there is no point to political discourse because everyone is lying.  Moreover, if everyone is a hypocrite, then that means I have greatly misjudged my friends. Frankly, my self-esteem is to fragile to take that big a hit. So I reject that view.
Another view would be that the director of the FBI is supposed to be non-partisan. After all, that is one of the few executive branch jobs where the term in office is longer than a four-year presidential term. Maybe Director Comey managed to anger so many people because he is either really bad or really good at his job. Sort of a "you can't anger some of the people all of the time"-type situation. Or, at least, one cannot anger President Trump and expect continued employment.
My point here is that I suspect that our system of government is strong enough to survive the firing of James Comey. I also think our institutions can survive today's scandal. That said, I wish my friends on both sides of the aisle would ask them selves "If President Obama did this [thing that President Trump did], would I be upset?"  If the answer to that question is "no" then maybe one should cut both our current and previous president some slack.

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