Well, it appears to be the week of superficiality. On Tuesday, FBI director James Comey announced at a press conference that he would not recommend an indictment against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton relating to her private email server scandal. According to Comey, Clinton (who also features prominently in Revelation 17 in the Bible) was “extremely careless” in her handling of classified email while she was Secretary of State, but showed no intent to break the law.
Obviously this is about as superficial an assessment of Clinton’s actions as one might concoct, based on what anyone who has been following this story closely already knows. This harridan is a ruthless, obscene, amoral criminal, but she just might wind up our next president anyway, if for no other reason than the electorate is simply not being made aware of the breadth and depth of her evil.
So, since we’re being superficial, this week I thought I’d go with something that exemplifies superficiality: Television; or more specifically, the review of a television show.
I don’t normally do reviews, but like millions of Americans who’ve dispensed with cable and satellite television subscriptions because we find it offensive to pay for Al Jazeera and other offal we wouldn’t watch with a grenade launcher poised at our heads, I have a digital antenna to pick up the few local news stations I can get here in the Rocky Mountain foothills so I’ll know when the barrage of Iranian ICBMs is about to commence.
As an entertainment alternative, I occasionally binge watch Netflix. Obviously, I’m picky even within that milieu, or I wouldn’t have given up subscription broadcast television to start with. One of the productions I really enjoyed was “Hell on Wheels,” the AMC series centered around the exploits of a former Confederate officer who headed west to work on the railroad.
The series depicts the conditions and the period reasonably faithfully (as recounted by history) without too much in the way of Hollywood anti-values incorporated therein, and it is very well done all the way around. There are both admirable and loathsome characters among all of the groups represented: the capitalists, the military personnel and former military personnel, prostitutes, Native Americans, freed slaves, Chinese and Irish immigrants, and Mormons.
One of the phenomena with which I was both fascinated and irritated (and with which all Americans should identify these days) was the series’ representation of the federal government and Union military forces that advanced the agenda of the former across the western territories. Their ruthlessness for the sake of ruthlessness was legendary, and we are aware of this because the effects thereof are still being felt today.
Leaving aside the abominable treatment Native Americans received during America’s westward expansion (for example), “Hell on Wheels” illustrated the axiom that power corrupts very well, whether portraying the stuffy, brandy-sipping railroad magnate abusing his workers, or the expatriate Chinese entrepreneur rapaciously exploiting his peasant countrymen – but it was the series’ characterization of the federal government that stood out in my mind.
In “Hell on Wheels,” the representatives of our federal government not only mercilessly implemented policies calculated to tame the frontier and bring indigent “savages” (Native Americans) under its sway, but danced a brutal flamenco all over the rights of those building the railroads in the region, landowners, and individuals as well.
This is demonstrated in part through the character of the Wyoming territorial governor John Campbell (played by Jake Weber) who, among many other scummy acts, uses his influence to buy up choice parcels of land around Cheyenne, Wyoming for his own personal aggrandizement. In this pursuit, he bullies the press, businessmen, and even local ladies of the night, ordering his deputies to vandalize a newspaper office, beat a saloon owner, and once fabricating charges against half of the men in town – including the president of the Union Pacific railroad – and barricading them in a church because the jail is too small to hold them all.
Campbell’s interpretation of the law in these matters, as evidenced via his own words, is essentially whatever he says it is, as is expedient relative to his mandate from Washington and his own ambitions and prejudices.
History confirms this deportment of policy makers of that era, and how it handily set the stage for politicians’ avaricious adventures of the following century – the narcissistic progressives for whom the Constitution was far more of an obstacle than a revered guide to just and moral governance.
The TV series illustrated not only the truism that power corrupts, but the conceit of those in the federal government at that time, and the emerging institutions therein which sought to gradually suppress the political power of both individuals and business, which had once effectively served to hold the federal government in check (In our day, many elements among these have been enrolled through guile and enticing subsidies to aid the federal government in its dirty work).
The pass on Hillary Clinton carries grave implications, not because it is being executed by those in the employ of the equally nefarious Obama administration, but because her crimes (which are a matter of public record even if the FBI chose to gloss over them) have also been tacitly endorsed by her ostensible political opponents – i.e., the Republican leadership – through their refusal to even acknowledge them. This is a stark indicator of the nascent statist megalith which has been 100 years in the making finally coming into its own.
In the aforementioned television series and the Clinton-Obama axis, we have dark cabals with no reservations with regard to ignoring the law or sweeping away opponents both large and small through subterfuge, intimidation, or even murder like so many crumbs on a dining table – and we have every reason to fear.