He wrote A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership and was the former director of the FBI. James Comey hit Donald Trump and the Republicans right between their eyes with his New York Times opinion piece. Yes, some people blame him for Hillary Clinton’s loss in the 2016 presidential election, but on the up side, maybe he will influence the Republican’s loss on Election Day with these words.
Since Trump fired him, Comey spent the last half year going around the country talking about what “ethical leadership” is. In his opinion piece he wrote:
‘…Nearly every place I go, I hear some version of this question: “Are we going to be O.K.?” What the questioner means is, given the current leadership of our country and the ugly undercurrent on which it thrives, is America as we know it going to survive? Yes, is the answer I give, without hesitation. We will recover. How long that takes is up to us, but I am optimistic.’
Comey looked toward historian Jon Meacham and his new book The Soul of America, which:
‘…In the 1920s, the Klan was reborn. Millions of Americans joined the K.K.K., including 16 United States senators, 11 governors and dozens of members of the House of Representatives. Tens of thousands of Klansmen in white robes marched on the National Mall in Washington. Immigration was severely restricted. Then the Klan fever broke in the late 1920s and we resumed our upward progress. That’s the story of America.’
He continued, saying that this period of “negativity and backlash was inevitable’ after so much change, i.e. a black president:
‘…History shows us that with so much progress and change, a spasm of negativity and backlash was inevitable. We can’t fully control the natural rhythms of human history. But what we can control is how long this period lasts before the line turns up again. The K.K.K. fever was broken in part because courageous leaders stood up to the Klan and brought millions of good people with them. And that pattern is also repeating itself.’
Then, the former FBI director said “our core values are secure.” Comey headed toward the end of his message with hope, “I can feel the giant stirring:”
‘I feel the giant stirring. The awakening is slow, but it is underway. Torches and death in Charlottesville. Children in cages at the border. The lying, misogyny, racism and attacks on the rule of law from our president. These things poke the giant. It takes time, but the American people are stirring. They always do. And when they awaken, these fevers break very quickly. Mr. Meacham reminds us that Joe McCarthy disappeared almost overnight, after dominating the country and cowing other leaders for four years.’
Yet, each of us, has a relatively small job, that of “speaking about our nation’s values:”
‘What the rest of us have to do is not become discouraged or complacent, or be provoked into reacting in ways that betray our values. It falls to all of us to awaken the giant so that we shorten the period before we resume our upward march. Every American should be speaking about our nation’s values. Every American should be voting those values, which are far more important than even the most passionate policy differences. The history of America consoles us, but also calls us to action.’
To read Comey’s full opinion piece click on this link.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.