A Deep Need for a ‘Deep State’

By BILL BONVIE | Oct 09, 2019

To hear President Trump’s defenders tell it, the latest allegations against him that have now risen to the level of an actual impeachment inquiry are merely an extension of the same nefarious plot hatched by various government officials that gave rise to the Mueller investigation.

Typical is how White House adviser Stephen Miller, best known as the architect of the president’s anti-immigrant policies, described the unidentified whistleblower who first called attention to Trump’s stupefying solicitation of the Ukrainian president’s assistance in digging up dirt on his potential Democratic rival Joe Biden. The whistleblower, he said, is a “deep-state operative” engaged in a “partisan hit job.”

The idea that the president has been the target of the machinations of a deep state – described by an online dictionary as “a body of people, typically influential members of government agencies or the military, believed to be involved in the secret manipulation or control of government policy” – is, of course, something Trump supporters have maintained from the get-go of his controversy-plagued tenure.

So should we be giving it any credence? I would certainly hope so.

I’d feel a heck of a lot more reassured knowing that there was a large contingent of government officials, including members of the military and intelligence services, who have been operating behind the scenes to expose the nefarious and possibly treasonous conduct of an individual who would in all probability never even have met the basic criteria for a security clearance had he not managed to con his way into the presidency by virtue of a minority vote.

Would the agents of such a deep state have been justified in engaging in extraordinary scrutiny of a candidate with a long reputation for not playing by the rules? The case against Trump is supported by numerous civil proceedings involving charges that he defrauded, swindled and stiffed people he dealt with over the years, defrauded others by advertising a bogus university and operated a casino that was assessed a record fine of nearly half a million dollars for more than 100 money laundering violations. Compound this with Trump’s business relationships with people in Russia, a country under the thumb of a quasi-dictator and ex-KGB official known to be hostile to the interests of the U.S.

You bet the scrutiny was needed! I would even go so far as to assert that not to have done so would have been a dereliction of duty on their part. It’s just a shame the effort wasn’t sufficient – or perhaps came a bit too late – to head this reprobate’s run for the White House off at the pass before he could take advantage of obvious glitches in our system of electing presidents to make a mockery of both the Founding Fathers’ vision and America’s role (however flawed it may have been at times) as a beacon of civilized values in an often murky world.

For whereas President Richard Nixon, who famously proclaimed he was “not a crook” and may not have actually been one, or at least a lawbreaker, up to the time he assumed the mantle of the presidency, Donald Trump came to the office with an aura of crooked dealings and associations throughout his career in business. (And that’s apart from his self-admitted sexual misconduct). So there was every reason for the members of a deep state to have mistrusted him and his motives for wanting to become president. And there’s now even more reason for their wanting to have him removed from office for his blatant attempts to coerce foreign governments to meddle in our next presidential election by searching for “evidence” against his chief rival, which is patently unlawful presidential behavior.

That, of course, is assuming that the so-called deep state actually exists. But if it doesn’t, and the term is merely an invention of Trump and his associates, we’re in a lot of trouble. That means there’s essentially nothing there to protect the integrity of our democratic republic, to say nothing of the civility of our civil society, against the kind of demagoguery, despotism and opprobrious opportunism that have brought so many other nations to grief.

So yes, by all means, let’s hope that there is indeed a deep state in which rock-solid American values are embedded, and whose members are working diligently to see that they’re preserved and protected. The idea that we’re actually nothing more than a nation of shallow standards that can be easily bent to the will of a rogue regime is, well, deeply disturbing.

Bill Bonvie of Little Egg Harbor is a co-author of Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them (an updated version of which is due out next spring as A Consumer’s Guide to Toxic Food Additives) and the author of the essay collection Repeat Offenders.






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