Robert Mueller is reputed to be an upstanding American who exemplifies duty, courage, wisdom, justice, and honor. Last week, Mueller testified in front of two House committees, the Judiciary and the Intelligence Committees. I have been mulling over some thoughts and feelings I have had since that deeply disappointing day. I wanted to examine the behavior and the values evidenced by Mueller, asking whether he was demented, cowardly, or extremely unwise. I will attempt to validate the eminence of values such as duty, courage, wisdom, justice, and honor, though Mueller seemed to come up short in every category on that fateful day.
Perhaps because of the mind-numbing stupidity, chicanery, and perjury that flows out of Donald Trump’s mouth every single day, those of us of good conscience, we patriots, felt too optimistic about the potential for an unwilling Robert Mueller to sway public opinion about Trump. We rightly worry about the damage being done to the fabric of society every time that poseur tells a lie, solicits or accepts emoluments by foreigners, or savages an American citizen with his dishonorable claims.
“The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality.” ~ Dante Alighieri
So we were crestfallen when a man who appeared to not only be hesitant to break his self-imposed and dubious sense of neutrality came across as either senile, demented, or woefully unprepared. It was as though Mueller was unwilling to stand up and be counted. I consider his unwillingness to “call a spade a spade” and testify that a moral reprobate was occupying the White House – and probably due in no small measure to the chicanery and skullduggery his campaign engaged in vis-a-vis the Russians.
I never thought I would live to see a day when hundreds of Republican politicians were willing to give cover to an immoral coward and sell out the country to Russian interests. RUSSIAN INTERESTS. That racist Reagan must be turning over in his grave. It just goes to show how far beyond redemption most of the politicians on the Right are now (and more than a few on the Left, too). This is truly Trump’s party, and I actually kind of miss the old Republican Party. It’s all Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham where the GOP used to be led by the likes of Abraham Lincoln and any of these individuals. As Charles Sykes writes of the incident where Trump’s rag-tag group of white nationalists chanted “Send her back!” in North Carolina recently, “Mr. Trump was not merely using racist tropes; he was calling forth something dark and dangerous.” (source)
“There’s almost nothing a conservative politician or pundit can do or say that the party’s base won’t somehow ignore or justify.” ~ Steve Almond
I have to think that Mueller can probably be considered a true patriot based on his long service to the Republic (though, let’s face it, as a high official in a relatively corrupt national government law enforcement apparatus, the morality of his service is, as far as I know, dubious. Think of J. Edgar Hoover). Thus, I really am considering the hypothesis that he is in the early stages of dementia. Much evidence can be found in retrospect when one looks at Reagan’s waning years. The other explanation is simply that he doesn’t have the courage of his convictions.
A third possibility is that he was following in an obsessed manner a self-image as non-partisan; above the fray; untouchable; apolitical. If so, he is, in my opinion, to be counted among persons throughout history who claimed they were righteous and patriotic, but when the going got rough, they placed Japanese men, women, and children into internment camps (FDR), they projected an image of uprightness but cheated on their wives (JFK), penned the Declaration of Independence and fathered children with his slaves (Jefferson), or claimed to be the true hope of a downtrodden people but led them into hell (Hitler).
“My strength is as the strength of ten, Because my heart is pure.”
A number of times, I watched the hearing and thought, “This man is exemplifying wisdom; he is standing back few yards, being observant, being very careful; he is questioning his assumptions and being extremely humble.” But time told that he simply missed opportunity after opportunity to bring to light the nefarious deeds of Trump and his campaign team. The despicable man might not have been able to gain the highest office in the land for the purposes of fulfilling his every narcissistic fantasy if it weren’t for Russian interference in the election (and certainly, indisputably, if it were not for the antiquated and oligarchic Electoral College).
As Steve Almond writes, “Deep down, most Republicans know that their party has lost its way. They know the president is a lazy conman who cares more about making money than running the country, and who was thrilled to receive help from Russians to win his election. They know that his spouting of conspiracy theories and his flouting law enforcement and intelligence agencies poses a danger to democracy.” Hear, hear! The issue, then, is why a savvy patriot such as Mueller would lie down during the most important moment of his life. I truly believe he could have galvanized opposition to the man-boy in the White House, and it could have led to an electoral defeat in 2020 or even an impeachment. God willing, forcible removal from office.
“Who bravely dares must sometimes risk a fall.”
We got none of that. Mueller behaved in a vexing and apparently cowardly fashion. It was ignominious.
Noam Chomsky claims that moral depravity defines US politicians. I just hoped, and for a while believed, that an attorney and former soldier such as Robert Mueller would stand up and be counted, not go sadly into that bad night, as it were. He thought he was above elected representatives who are mostly performers and beggars, but he showed himself to be a sorry caricature of the man he was alleged to be. In my humble opinion. Ω
I wrote a poem about courage, honor, duty, and the like around 1999 that I think would fit well here:
Of What Are We Made?
There are times when we are called to duty;
Necessity dictates decisive resolve.
The time comes when we must stand and be counted;
Grave circumstances force us to evolve.
Everything we are is brought to bear on a situation;
Minutes turn to seconds as the critical point nears.
Our ethics and our courage are put to the test;
We must push through hesitation, doubt, and fears.
The legacy of a person is oft’ destroyed by one action;
What honor lies in philosophizing from a soft armchair?
The call of duty beckons one to stand up straight;
Men who show such resolve are becoming increasingly rare.