Jack Handey gave us this deep thought:
If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is “God is crying.” And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is “Probably because of something you did.”
James Comey’s Twitter feed is a fertile source of such deep thoughts. I give you, for example, the deep thought below.
Political candidates and elected officials should not talk about the future prosecution of any individual. Law enforcement decisions must be apolitical.
— James Comey (@Comey) June 15, 2019
If we are to take this at face value and not merely as a signal of his inner truth and greatness, James Comey must be one of the least self-aware men in the annals of mankind. End of introduction.
The editors of the Washington Post frequently give Comey space to amplify his deep thoughts. They can’t get enough of ’em. Comey contributed a column yesterday to ruminate on Attorney General William Barr. The column runs under the headline “Justice is supposed to be blind. Bill Barr can’t see that.”
Query: Shouldn’t such a column be accompanied by a disclosure from the author or the editors that Barr has assigned United States Attorney John Durham to investigate the origins of the FBI counterintelligence investigation in which James Comey was himself a protagonist?
In this column Comey posits the credibility of Department of Justice employees as a “gift.” He explains: “That gift, which makes possible so much of the good they accomplish, is a reservoir of trust and credibility, a reservoir built for them, and filled one drop at a time, by those who went before — most of whom they never knew. They were people who made sacrifices and kept promises to contribute to that reservoir. They were people who made mistakes, and admitted them. They were people who made hard calls without regard to politics or privilege, who sought the facts and applied them to the law.”
Comey continues in the mode of deep thoughts:
The obligation of all Justice employees is to protect that reservoir, to pass it to those who follow, who will likely never meet or know them.
The problem with reservoirs is that it takes tremendous time and effort to fill them, but one hole in a dam can drain them quickly. The protection of that reservoir requires vigilance, an unerring commitment to truth and a recognition that the actions of one may affect the priceless gift that benefits all.
If Justice Department employees are no longer seen as something separate in American life, we are all less safe. If jurors, judges, victims, witnesses, cops and sheriffs come to see them as part of a political tribe, and so trust them less, something essential is lost.
The problem with reservoirs…well, they have lots of problems. The dam may be unsafe. The construction may be poor. The water may be poisoned. You may have a James Comey as the engineer or manager.
The problem with metaphors is something else entirely. If employed, they should add clarity or vividness to the writing. Bad metaphors do the opposite. They numb the mind of the writer as well as the reader. Comey’s column provides a case in point.
Comey finally arrives at his utterly predictable destination: “Now, one person, Attorney General William P. Barr, threatens the reservoir of trust.”
If Comey had any friends, I should think they would have conducted an intervention on him by now. Comey is uninhibited in displaying his cluelessness to readers who get their news from the Post.
UPDATE: Let’s add this musical reflection to Comey’s deep thoughts. It’s not just reservoirs!