When I saw the NYT article on Merrick Garland and the DOJ investigation…

…I said to myself, “Smart.”

Smart, because after hearing and reading months of criticism, a lot of it harsh and frenetic about Garland, I sensed the DOJ had decided to address the criticism by granting the Times interviews.

I read the entire article and found it informative, if carefully controlled. But that was OK with me, because I know the general prosecutorial protocol about providing/leaking information about investigations. That is, you don’t do it. You don’t do it because until you complete the investigation, you don’t know whether the person you’re investigating is guilty and, if guilty, of what exactly? And if not guilty, you don’t want to smear her reputation. Do you?

Boy, did I write the above while sniffing sarcastically, given my previous fume over Comeyfying. Comey, McAfee and Hur gave us all thrilling lessons in why a prosecutor/investigation should not (1) let the public know about an ongoing investigation; (2) mention the name of a subject; (3) tell everyone the results of the investigation when there was nothing to prosecute; and (4) express his own opinion by using pulsating language to say “nothing happened and I’m SO PERSONALLY PISSED I CAN’T PROSECUTE, I’M GOING TO SLANDER SOMEBODY!!”

In fact, investigators should say nothing at all until a grand jury says “Indicted!”

Which Trump, et al., have certainly been.

So I could say that, despite some pompous hindsighting by reporters Glenn Thrush and Adam Goldman, the article satisfied me.

Then I went to the readers’ comments.

Geez. The same loud, irrational and nasty criticisms of Merrick Garland.

Clearly the angriest readers had not read the article. And a lot of the criticism remained weirdly personal, directed at Garland’s appearance and manner — utterly irrelevant to the central questions of how he is heading the DOJ and conducting the multitude of Trump-related prosecutions.

Most of the readers seem to be ignorant about law and prosecutions. And prosecutors. They are in a rage because Trump wasn’t arrested on January 7, wasn’t indicted instantly, wasn’t hauled off to prison the day he left the White House.

And they blame this on Merrick Garland.

That’s when I had an epiphany. (Don’t worry about me. I have them occasionally and know how to manage them.)

Naomi’s Epiphany About Trauma And The Trump Years

Lots of respectable people, desperately searching to explain the craziness in our country today, have decided PTSD has much to do with it. I agree.

Maybe the worst of it was how thoroughly Trump corrupted and desecrated American governance. Over those four years, I read and listened to the news every day and every day  there was at least one incident, one speech, one ghastly event that had been previously unimaginable to me.

In the totality of four years, our American government disappeared.

Those years of Trump were surreal.

Then Biden walked into the White House and what disappeared was Trump. The horrifying void during which he served as a rotting figurehead was being filled in. Real, rational government had returned, developing at its deliberative pace. Unity and disunity, criticism and praise, debate, policy, pronouncements. The complex government of a complex country was back at work.

Best for me was watching the restoration of the federal agencies, the establishment of highly qualified directors — for me, most particularly, the DOJ.

But it seems the Trump pollution is still affecting sane, smart people. A furious fantasy has taken hold — if one man can do and say whatever he wants, as quickly or as slowly as he wants, breaking laws, discarding protocol, trashing courtesies; lying every time he opens his mouth, firing anybody instantly, hiring anybody instantly, demanding the agencies work personally for him, or else, then…why can’t his successor?

A lot of people, in fact, are yearning for a Strongman — just not a MAGA Strongman. They want Biden to do a tit-for-Trump-tat — to pressure Garland publicly, forgetting that the DOJ is the one agency the president should (and does) keep his hands off. The agency that is emblematic of our proud motto, the one which differentiates us from other countries: we are a nation ruled by laws, not men.

I think the reeking miasma emitted by Trump still hangs around and is unwittingly inhaled by good people who are thus affected by a PTSD warped memory: a would-be dictator got things done, fast. Bad things, yeah, but why can’t our current leaders do good things equally fast?

Because that, in psychiatric terminology, is called “identification with the aggressor.” And because that’s not how a democratic republic works. That’s not how our government works.

I, for one, am grateful.


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