So spoke an anonymous op-ed writer in a recent issue of the New York Times that had all of us concerned citizens salivating. It seemed to be a recognition that the very insecure man in the very important position was off his rocker. But don’t worry, the essay said, the “unsung heroes in and around the White House … have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained in the West Wing.” So, we don’t have to be concerned about bombers and missiles being unleashed by the stroke of a misguided pen.
Are we supposed to be comforted by these assurances?
I, for one, am not.
This article was a terrible idea. For at least two reasons.
The first mistake lies at the feet of the Times. I have strong respect for that newspaper, so when it assures me the author is a “senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us,” I believe it.
It pains me, then, that they chose to publish it on the editorial page without attribution, trashing a long standing and honorable tradition. Were they so caught up in the excitement of a “scoop” that they elected to take this unusual step, perhaps fearful a refusal would send the author to the competition?
It isn’t as if there wasn’t another way to handle it. It should have been assigned to a reporter and treated as news, with the explanation the source requested anonymity for fear of reprisal. That’s done all the time.
What isn’t done all the time is posting articles on the editorial page without an attached name. Seems to me that’s the whole purpose of the page, so those with strong views can share them and suffer the consequences of any ill feelings that result. I think it’s a dangerous precedent to allow anyone the luxury of hiding behind anonymity, no matter how significant the report is.
The Times chose to replace my ability to evaluate the material based on knowledge of the source with its own assurances. Essential information was denied me.
But, you may say, if we knew who wrote it, so would the rest of the world and the author would be fired. Thereby annihilating the effectiveness of the “protection” offered.
Which brings me to the second mistake. This document should never have seen the light of day.
Based on your knowledge of the man from whom our author is protecting us, what do you believe his reaction will be? Of course, there will be the assorted tweets of the childish bully. But I believe it will go much further.
I think he’ll be suspicious of everyone in his inner circle. I think he’ll constantly be on the lookout for the culprit. I think it will make it harder for anyone trying to impose the necessary restraints.
I think advisor after advisor will rush to say, “It wasn’t me.” I think these advisors will increase the sycophantic groveling assuring their boss of their complete agreement with his wonderful policies and reassert how great a leader he is, knowing his egotistical personality will eat it up. We’ve seen this before.
I think anyone in disagreement with administration policy in any form will be increasingly subject to vilification from the man who tolerates no deviation.
I think the man and the ones truly in league with his destructive leadership will be vigilant in looking for interference to their goals.
In other words, I believe publication of the op-ed has undone the ability of these “heroes” to accomplish what the article claims. Ironic, isn’t it?
So what in the world caused this “hero” to publish? I can think of only two reasons.
The first reflects the cynicism I have for the political game, perhaps a result of too much mystery writing. Wouldn’t this be a smart move by someone loyal to the leader in order to force subservience and allegiance because of the reasons given earlier? In other words, the goal is the exact opposite of what the article asserts. I can see one of the diabolical and intelligent true believers coming up with such a manipulation.
The second possibility? The writer’s intentions were honorable, but the action was ill-advised to the extreme, if not downright stupid.