When the New York Times published that anonymous op-ed this week sensationally titled “I am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” my movie addled brain went down its usual rabbit hole to those movies with similar screaming titles. Confessions of a Nazi Spy. I Married a Nazi. That sort of thing.
With Nazi-themed movies on the brain, referencing the “Resistance” invoked the famous French Resistance to the Nazi occupation of France and the Vichy regime. And while resistance to a duly elected government in a democracy is kind of, well, undemocratic, that doesn’t hold true if that government wasn’t exactly duly elected. For example, if some foreign power worked to install it, we’re getting a little Vichy, don’t you think? (I warned you it was a rabbit hole.)
After reading the piece, I tuned in to watch the pundits jump in with both feet in an attempt to answer the questions the op-ed raised. Who wrote it? And why? Is the unnamed “senior official in the Trump administration” courageous? Or is this whole thing cowardly?
Maybe we’ll find out who wrote it. For that person’s sake, I kind of hope not. At least not until the political climate has changed to one that’s more reflective of facts and information than the current one, with its underpinning of speculation and innuendo. The way things are right now, a revelation of the person’s identity might result in a feeding frenzy from both sides. And to what end?
And while courage usually requires affixing one’s name to something, particularly if that something is published in The New York Times, anonymous whistleblowing is not necessarily cowardice. In the quagmire that is the Trump administration, all of us out here in TV land are best served to remind ourselves that we don’t know what we don’t know. That said, it may better to reserve judgment on this issue—which, I confess, is really hard for me to do.
But the “why” question does bear examination, so I’ll willingly fall down that rabbit hole. Was this official trying to comfort those of us who are discombobulated by all that is going on? If so, it’s a nice try at best. Being told “that there are adults in the room” gives me scant solace. Have you ever been in a room with a badly behaving child when there weren’t adults in the room?
Maybe the op-ed is kind of a postcard confession from the edge—or someone else’s rabbit hole. Perhaps it was inspired by John McCain’s funeral, which The New Yorker called “the biggest resistance meeting yet.” Maybe someone will respond with “I, Too, am Part of the Resistance in the Trump Administration.”
But the most easily discernible result of this publication is Trump’s reaction, which no doubt is happening as I write this. Why would someone knowingly push the buttons on a man with this much power who is, at best, beleaguered and, at worst, unhinged? Is that the real purpose of the piece? To push Trump further to the edge? Boy, if that’s the case, Trump is up against a real Machiavellian adversary in his midst.
And I have to confess from my personal rabbit hole, there’s just a little bit of comfort in that.