James Comey’s quandaries matter because the former FBI director’s behavior bears a creepy contrarian resemblance to Sir Thomas More’s in the 16th Century.
More’s resoluteness, strength and bravery in standing up to a king winds up getting him beheaded.
Comey’s standing handsomely tall, but presenting irresolute and weakly symptoms such as his admittedly bowing down to a President winds up getting him a $10 million book deal.
How moral codes and oaths of offices have changed over the centuries is so strikingly evident when comparing Comey’s behavior with More’s. Was Comey in any way, shape or form A Man for All Seasons?
Hardly! Comey’s concern, tepidness and caution is the direct opposite of More’s unyielding allegiance to his beliefs and sense of duty to the point of death.
The biographical drama A Man for all Seasons deservedly won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1967.
Comey’s performance deserves the Alchemy Award for Spineless Contradictions in 2017.
For those of you too young to have seen it, the acclaimed film A Man For All Seasons was about the 16th-century Lord Chancellor of England Sir Thomas More’s refusal to sign a letter asking the Pope to annul King Henry VIII of England’s marriage to his Spanish wife so he could marry the sexier Anne Boleyn..
A devout Catholic, More stood by his religious principles and tried to resign from the royal court, but the King and his loyalists pressed forward with grave charges of treason, further testing More’s resolve and ultimately leading to his beheading.
A Man for All Seasons was directed by Fred Zinnemann, who had previously directed High Noon and From Here to Eternity, films with scary parallels to Congress and The White House.
A Man for All Seasons was a critical and box office success. Comey’s appearance before congress was a lighthearted farce.
A Man for All Seasons won six Oscars. Comey’s appearance most likely wins him a high-paying role at a prestigious law firm, plus a lucrative book deal. My how time flies . . . and the seasons change.
In the film, More urges his wife and friends not to try and defend him as he denounces the King’s actions as illegal. He declares that the Church’s immunity to State interference is guaranteed both in the Magna Carta and in the King’s own Coronation Oath. More is condemned to death by beheading. Before his execution, More pardons the executioner, saying: “I die His Majesty’s good servant, but God’s first.”
Comey says he didn’t have the stomach (or maybe another part of his anatomy is more to the point) to tell the President what he really thought, which was Trump’s alleged crossing the line by expressing his hopes for Flynn.
Later Comey leaks out his memos to The New York Times whose stories about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians he said he knew were lies, but still he sat back and remained silent.
Comey’s leaking was a carefully orchestrated act that appeared designed to shield him from any legal repercussions, whistleblower and ethics lawyers contend.
So while Sir Thomas More defied, Comey sat back and just decried those choices he made.