In the wake of Trump’s self-serving removal of James Comey from his role as Director of the FBI, many Americans have been left reeling, struggling to make sense of the undemocratic move. As has become increasingly the case, journalist Dan Rather offered one of the most articulate assessments of the situation:
“Future generations may mark today as one of the truly dark days in American history, a history that may soon take an even more ominous turn.
President Trump’s sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey is a matter that should deeply concern every American, regardless of party, partisan politics or ideological leanings.
The independence of our law enforcement is at the bedrock of our democracy. That independance [sic], already grievously shaken under the brief tenure of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is now shattered by uncertainty.
The firing of an FBI Director is always a very serious matter in normal times. But these times aren’t normal. Far from it. The Bureau is engaged in one of the most important and perilous investigations of this or any other presidency—the investigation of connections between the Trump election campaign and the Russian government.
The questions mount and the shadow grows darker. What were those connections? What did Mr. Trump know about them and when did he know it? How can the President explain the serious allegations against his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn? And what is President Trump hiding in this regard? It’s imperative that the nation—We The People—get answers to those questions. It will take time, but the process must start now.
A politicized FBI is the last thing we need as we struggle through the maze of lies, concealment and ever-deepening mysteries. The last time a President fired prosecutors who were investigating him was Richard Nixon during the widespread criminal conspiracy known for short as “Watergate.” We all know how that turned out. In real ways, this potential scandal and coverup are much graver. We are talking about the very security of the United States and the sanctity of our republic.
Thomas Paine famously wrote in 1776: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. “
I see this as having the potential for a similar reflection point in our American story. If there is a cover up, if our nation is at the risk that has certainly been more than suggested, it is incumbent upon everyone who claims to love this nation to demand answers.
We need a special prosecutor. We need an independent investigation. There is, obviously, much we don’t know about what has just happened, why it happened and why now. Just as obviously there is much more, so much more that we need know. We need to damn the lies and expose the truth.”
Well said. There is a lot of uncertainty swirling about right now. It makes sense to be concerned, even scared, but we must continue to press for answers. America has always overcome. With a strong, vocal citizenry demanding courage from its Congress, we can continue to overcome.
What do you think?
Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.