Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Laws of Unintended Consequences

I wasn't intending to keep writing so much about politics this month- I kept a slot open in my schedule for the expected departure of Our Glorious and Eternal Governor, The Moustache, but he's still here and the gears of bureaucracy are grinding very slowly indeed. But the President keeps doing shit that makes it impossible not to write about.

So, he fired FBI Director James Comey. (My thoughts about that hot mess, here.) But then things took a shocking and unexpected twist: a purported memo Comey wrote that claimed that the President ordered him to stop investigating former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. No one right now knows what the memo actually says and despite the media shrieking, until we know what it says it's hard to say how big of a deal this actually is- but the general consensus is that it might be a very big deal indeed.

Let's say the memo says: "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go. Flynn's a good guy." (Which is a White House statement I saw floating around CNN yesterday.) Then the optics are bad, but it's not necessarily fatal. On the other hand, fi the memo says: "Hey fella, stop your investigation right now." That's a big-ass deal. Either way, the existence of a memo is a bombshell that the Trump Administration did not need this week- and it could be a fatal bombshell.

Whispers have already begun about President Pence. Crusty proto-nationalist Pat Buchanan is talking about Watergate. Obituaries, while perhaps premature, are already being written about the Trump Administration. But it's Camille Paglia that hits the most troubling note: the media's hysteria and the potential damage it could do to the country, no matter what happens.

We've been in a downward spiral for a couple of decades now. Hyper-partisanism kicked into high gear in the mid-90s, culminating in a highly politicized and questionable attempt to kneecap a President over a sexual indiscretion- not because he perjured himself, but because he was a Democratic President and it wasn't about what's right or what's good, it was about winning. And ever since then, that instinct- to make it about winning over governing has gotten worse and worse.

The Left lost it's mind when George W. Bush was in charge. The Right lost it's mind when Barack Obama was in charge. Now it's the Left's turn again and if the House flips to the Democrats next year and they go for impeachment (which I'm going to assume will be as controversial and politicized as Clinton's impeachment was- barring actual, hard evidence of malfeasance- which isn't out of the question with this Administration) then what happens next?

The wells are poisoned. Our politics have become bloodsport. We have to break the cycle and change our political discourse. I have no idea how to do that, but thinking before speaking would be a good first step. Thinking about the laws of unintended consequences would be a good second step.

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