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The Pyre of Jim Comey

The story about Comey’s infamous letter goes something like this:

Comey was asked during an interview on ABC News for a response to Clinton saying Comey’s letter shortly before the election announcing the FBI was going to look back into the email investigation ensured her defeat.

“I hope not,” Comey said during the interview.

He added that he hopes people will try to put themselves in his shoes. He said he was not trying to help or hurt a candidate, but was trying to do the right thing.

He was further pressed on whether his decision was influenced by his assumption that Clinton was going to win the election.

“It must have been. I don’t remember consciously thinking about that, but it must have been because I was operating in a world where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump, and so I’m sure that it was a factor,” he said.

“I don’t remember spelling it out, but it had to have been, that she’s going to be elected president and if I hide this from the American people, she’ll be illegitimate the moment she’s elected, the moment this comes out,” he added.

My favorite author, JRR Tolkien, possibly one of the wisest of literary wizards, wrote a character named Denethor, who peering into a crystal ball, thought he could see the future. He became so despondent that he brought his dying son to a tomb and lit it on fire. Gandalf shows up in time to try to talk some sense into the mad steward of Gondor telling him that while it’s one thing for Denethor to take his own life in despair, he has no right to deprive his son of a chance to live. The father allows his son to be removed from the pyre and then he dies among his flames.

I’m reminded of this because Jim Comey essentially did the same thing to us. He thought he could see the future and fearing the worst, he brought us all down with him. He relied on his own judgement and didn’t let anyone else try to talk some sense into him.

Did it ever occur to him that because she was the first female candidate in history that we as a nation did not have a precedent to follow? Her gender was a new parameter added to the model, a model that we have never run before. Predictions about her win were based on a rational world and history that proved again and again that the most qualified, sensible, candidate would win. Yes, we had an anomaly or two but that’s how this usually works when you’re running against someone so uniquely unqualified.

But it’s worse than that. Comey compared Hillary’s stupid little email problem that had been investigated to death, differently than all of the bad news he had to have been hearing about Donald Trump. There was much more to fear from a man who was hiding his tax returns. By November 2016, Comey must have known about the Steele Dossier that had turned out to be pretty credible, regardless of how salacious it was. He saw how Trump was stirring his base into a dangerous frenzy, Trump’s pathetic performances at the debates and his history of grabbing women by the pussy. And he decided that Hillary Clinton would be a less legitimate president? Really??

Jim Comey is a case study on how implicit bias works. I get the feeling that he would never be satisfied that Hillary wasn’t guilty of something. Nothing she says, no documentation she provided, regardless of how much she cooperated, would ever convince him that she hadn’t done anything wrong and was illegitimate. He scolded her in a way that was unprecedented and shocking. He had interfered in the election long before October 2016. The gentleman protested too much. I think he was just personally uncomfortable as a conservative Republican man with the prospect of a Democratic woman running the show and being his boss. I think that was an itch in his brain he couldn’t scratch to satisfaction.

Maybe it was less that he didn’t weigh the evidence against the two candidates fairly and more that he was incapable of doing so.

But in any case, he thought the possibility of her illegitimacy outweighed the possibility that he was going to put a criminal in the White House.

Just take that in for a second. He decided to look into the future and burn us all.

He might not be a liar but he’s quite possibly the least wise among us.

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