I watched the James Comey hearing this week with an acquaintance of mine; a distinguished and successful lawyer, a man experienced with the verbal joust of high-profile cross-examination.
As the testimony wore on, my acquaintance began to go red in the face, then purple. It was not that he liked, or disliked, James Comey (or Donald Trump for that matter). It was that he believed the Senate Intelligence Committee to be doing a terrible job with their questioning, that the quality of their cross-examination was lacking.
“If you had only followed up with … !!” he kept yelling as he scrawled in a small notebook how he would have done it differently.
It is not all that often you see someone in his type of economic and professional position feel helpless to the point of rage, particularly with the way the system is working.
Oddly though, perhaps tragically, a situation in which an expert in a particular field is dissatisfied with the mainstream operation of said field, is not rare at this point.
Environmental scientists continue to shout warnings about American energy policy.
Educators are apt to point out the deep-rooted problems in the American education system; not only economically but in approach to educating.
Caregivers are often the first to offer a critique of the American healthcare system, advocating for change that would move the U.S. closer to the standards set by the rest of the industrialized world.
A lawyer condemning the cross-examination of Comey offers, in effect, expert commentary on the American legal system; that it is flawed to the benefit of some and the detriment of others. (A critique I believe many legal experts have mentioned in the past.)
I get it though.
There are simply too many fields of expertise for the layperson to see all the ins and outs that an expert in the field would.
Luckily for us, there is, purportedly, a great arbiter of all of this information – the media, journalists.
Their field of expertise, at least in theory, is compilation and condensation; to make succinct a great many details and expert voices, to inform when and where important.
Following the mainstream media week in and week out has left me, at times, feeling like a lawyer raging at the Comey testimony on television.
From the moment Comey stepped out of the spotlight – the literal spotlight of the hearing, not the proverbial spotlight, which he appears to be just getting started in – the mainstream media tore into the event with predictable fervor.
‘Right-wing’ outlets presented Comey’s conjecture as having completely exonerated Trump, while ‘left- wing’ outlets insisted that the words had, in fact, provided an irrepressible denunciation.
I use the word conjecture because, as is often the case when powerful people speak under oath, Comey’s testimony provided very little in the way of facts, instead overflowing with his experiences, speculations, and inferences.
If there was anything to learn from this theater of obfuscation, it was that Comey appears to truly believe that both Donald Trump and Loretta Lynch (with the implication that Lynch insinuates Clinton and you can insert your own Clinton-Lynch joke here if you like) attempted to interfere in and influence FBI investigations.
Comey is either a liar, not a liar, or someone with a perception of reality unique to some of his colleagues.
But it appears as though the suggestion is that the President of the United States, his defeated opponent in the last election, the Attorney General, and the FBI Director are all involved in some sort of espionage and corruption or another.
It seems to this layperson that this might be an indication of a broken political system.
I think maybe we should consult an expert in the field.
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