There’s an interesting thing happening in the wake of the collapse of the Mueller probe and the Russian collusion narrative. The curtains are being pulled aside, bit by bit, and we are learning of misdeeds and shenanigans at the highest levels of government and law enforcement, motivated, it would seem, by little more than umbrage taken at Trump’s victory. Highest, in this case, may even include the outgoing President of the United States, with a growing accumulation of evidence that the political mobilization of the State apparatus to thwart, impede, and even unseat the duly elected incoming President.

I recently perused three articles on the matter, on Trump as a monkey wrench in the K-Street machine, on the importance of what has been dubbed Obamagate, and on the FBI’s gross misbehaviors regarding Michael Flynn. All are worth a read, with the caveat that they all include opinion (I won’t call it a “content warning,” as is so fashionable lately, because marketplace of ideas and all that), and therefore should not be deemed Gospel (nothing should, excepting perhaps this blog).

Collectively, they paint a picture of a government that puts on a show of caring for American voters, but is really about the accretion and retention of power. To the point of abusing the tools entrusted to it, against the interests of the citizens and in increasingly naked and corrupt lust for power.

Witness the FBI, an institution that has both embraced and marketed an image of Dudley Do-Right exemplar, abandoning that reputation in order to get a desired result despite finding nothing actionable against a disfavored person. Witness also, the head of the FBI word-smithing his way out of prosecuting a favored person, despite assertion (admission) that actionable misdeeds were uncovered. Witness a government minority party, working in conjunction with a politicized FBI and a highly motivated partisan press, trying non-stop from the moment of his election to undo Trump’s victory: Jill Stein’s recount lawsuits; Pressuring Electors to vote against their mandates; A drive to stage an impeachment vote mere weeks into his presidency; Press and A-lister efforts to delegitimize his election in the court of public opinion; 25th Amendment aspersions and psychiatric ‘conclusions’; Emoluments Clause lawsuits; leaking internal documents, transcripts, and conversations; Stormy Daniels; Michael Cohen; The Steele Dossier; An FBI Director illegally leaking confidential/classified documents; the Mueller probe; Smearing AG Barr for being careful in releasing the Mueller probe’s results; The resurrection of the Logan Act; Ukraine and the subsequent Articles of Impeachment; Adam Schiff’s lies; The fishing expedition into his finances; and more lawsuits than I can recall.

Unfortunately, on the multiple occasions I’ve raised all these matters in political discussion, I’ve been met with “Trump’s a piece of shit,” “Flynn’s a piece of shit,” “Cohen’s a piece of shit,” and so forth. All these statements may very well be true. They are opinions, but opinions based on substance carry weight. Flynn’s involvement with Turkey, in particular, adds some heft to the observation.

But, even if those views are packed with validity, they do not justify the misuse of government power that we’ve witnessed, not by a long shot. And, as far as relevance today, that abuse of power is the greater evil, by far. The players who got folded, spindled, and mutilated by Mueller, the FBI, the mainstream press, and the Democrats, are (other than Trump himself) out of the picture, destined to become historical footnotes. While many of the players who did the folding, spindling, and mutilating are also out of the picture, the calling to account of all those abuses has fallen terribly short. Indeed, we’re on the verge of witnessing actual reward for all these improprieties and worse. In what polls suggest will be a tight election (yes, it’s WAY too early to rely on those, but anyone who thinks there’ll be a landslide, one way or the other, is merely projecting), the four years of relentless hammering will certainly affect some voters’ decisions.

This is borne out, already, by the “interesting thing” I referenced at the beginning of this article. That thing is the reaction I’ve gotten from multiple instances of voicing outrage at all this misuse and abuse of government power. That reaction is the aforementioned “Yeah, but X is a [insert your preferred derogation].” In some cases, it’s an ends-justify-the-means argument. In other cases, it’s born of a personal animus toward Trump (as in “TDS”). In still other cases, it’s a “pox upon all houses” abandonment of putting forth an opinion that may go against one’s preferences. And so forth.

None of these reactions addresses the issue. That these reactions are common represents a victory for the abusers, including the Democratic Party, the liberal Press, and the institutionalized government people who were either at the fore of or complicit in those abuses. In shifting the conversation away from all the bad things done, and onto the “badness” of the people they were done unto, the reactors are telling the abusers that they can carry on, that it’s OK to corrupt the machine of the State in pursuit of those they don’t like, no matter the will of the voters.

Trump’s supporters, unfortunately, don’t help their cause in counter-reacting with hagiographies of the accused. It’s absolutely possible to be a piece of shit, but still be wronged by the State apparatus. My cynicism suggests that at least some of these people like the idea of using the State against political opponents, as long as they’re in charge (and Trump doesn’t help things at all when he threatens social media platforms et al).

I offer neither an indictment nor a defense of Trump or those who’ve been improperly aggressed by the State machinery today. That’s irrelevant to the matter at hand. As I noted, most of the latter are now political irrelevancies, and Trump, having survived the Machine so far, will be judged by the voters.

Many fear for the future of the Republic, their party, and their ideology should Trump win again. Ditto, should Trump lose. But, if we tolerate and accept the Machine’s misdeeds because we don’t like the targets of those misdeeds, and if we either accept or carry out the misdirection away from the culprits and onto the targets, we doom ourselves to seeing this all happen again, and next time, the target may be someone we like.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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