James Comey may have played a pivotal role in the election of Donald Trump. But, when Trump fired him, he made an angry enemy of Comey, who has become one of Trump's loudest critics. He writes in today's New York Times:
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. Comey accepts the essential American myth:
History shows us that America’s progress in fulfilling our aspirations is an upward sloping line. Yes, our present has always fallen short of our values. After all, we were born in original sin — our nation’s founders held inspiring truths to be self-evident while keeping human beings as slaves. But our history is one of continuous progress.
I'm not sure Comey's bedrock faith in the American experiment is justified. But today that faith is being put to the test. Comey believes his faith will be rewarded:
I’ve been traveling around the United States for six months speaking about ethical leadership. 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 is optimistic about the United States, just as Winston Churchill was. I'm not so sure. But I continue to hope -- for the sake of all of us -- that both men are (and were) right.
Image: The New York Times