Just when I think I have seen or heard it all, just when I think we have gone as low as we can go, somebody proves to me that there is yet another nether-layer in our government, our society today. This latest came onto my radar yesterday and has set my teeth on edge.
The headline read …
“Echoing Stalin, House Republican calls for ‘purge’ of the Department of Justice”
The story …
On Tuesday, Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) called for a “purge” of the Department of Justice to root out officials who may be biased against Trump.
“People need a good clean government,” Rooney told MSNBC. “I would like to see the directors of those agencies [the DOJ and FBI] purge it and say, ‘Look, we’ve got a lot of great agents, a lot of great lawyers here. Those are the people to see and know the good work’s being done, not these people who are kind of the deep state.’” – ThinkProgress, 27 December 2017
It should be noted that Mr. Rooney is a freshman Congressman who has no political background and until his election served as the CEO of his and his brothers’ investment and holding company. Mr. Rooney is one of those wealthy politicians that inhabit our Congress today, owning a $14.4 million waterfront estate in Naples, Florida, and a $2.4 million mansion in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
It has been estimated between 600,000 to 1,750,000 people died at the hands of the Stalin-led Soviet government during the Great Purge of 1936-1938, a campaign of political repression a large-scale purge of the Communist Party and government officials, repression of peasants and the Red Army leadership, widespread police surveillance, suspicion of “saboteurs”, “counter-revolutionaries”, imprisonment, and arbitrary executions. Is this the path we want to follow? I think not!
Some of us are, understandably, deeply concerned when we hear the word “purge” used in connection with our government, especially when used by our elected representatives who are expected to promote the good of the nation and its people, not necessarily the egomaniac in the White House.
Rooney’s statements stem from the calls by the far right to halt or discredit the investigation by Robert Mueller into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. You may recall that Mr. Mueller relieved one of his team of duties in the investigation because it was discovered that the man, FBI agent Peter Strzok, had sent a text message to his girlfriend in which he referred to Donald Trump as an “idiot”. Mr. Mueller relieved Strzok of his duties in the investigation immediately in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation, but Trump & Co. seized on the incident to attempt to discredit the entire investigation. Give a dog a bone …
Mr. Rooney’s suggestion of a ‘purge’ to rid the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation of all those who are not fans of Donald Trump, is chilling, for it is strongly suggestive of a path toward that autocracy of which I have been warning for a full year now. It is reminiscent of the oaths of fealty in medieval Europe, or more recently, the pledge of loyalty Trump asked of FBI Director James Comey.
On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln gave his historic Gettysburg Address, which reads, in part …
“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
You will note that Lincoln did not say, “… government of the Trumps, by the Trumps, for the Trumps …” Mr. Rooney and others of his ilk might be well advised to study a bit of history before opening their mouths to speak.
Mr. Rooney later tried to walk back his comments a bit, but it’s funny, isn’t it, how the word, once heard, can never be unheard. And he continued, even so, to maintain that the FBI should oust individuals he views as “politically compromised”, meaning not Trump supporters. I have two thoughts on this:
- If only Trump supporters are allowed to work in federal bureaus and agencies, I doubt we would ever be able to fully staff any of said bureaus and agencies
- If only Trump supporters are allowed to work in the federal government, then we will be living under a dictatorship
Rooney’s use of the word ‘purge’ was foolish, and could be forgiven had it come from a kid working the drive-thru at McDonalds. But it was spoken by a man who is in a position to make decisions that affect our lives, and from him it is unconscionable and unacceptable. He is a first term member of the House of Representatives. I hope that next November, Floridians will ensure that he is a “one and done” representative.