No matter what your attitude about the substance of Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily suspending visas from seven countries involved in terrorism, that an acting attorney general took it upon herself to disobey it is nothing less than the deliberate subversion of the rule of law in the United States of America. She deserves to be indicted — or at least be disbarred.
Not only did Sally Yates announce she would not enforce the order, she gave absolutely no legal justification for her inaction. It was pure politics dressed up with the most puerile moral posturing. The law was nowhere to be found. It was the Department of Justice in a Guy Fawkes mask.
What made it yet more reprehensible is that Trump was only following through on a widely known campaign promise, although in a considerably more cautious and judicious form than some of his original pronouncements. Furthermore, the very thing Ms. Yates turned up her legal nose at — a president placing restrictions on immigration from terror-infused countries — was done in 2011 by Barack Obama, the man responsible for her appointment.
That Trump fired her only minutes after she opened her mouth was predictable and necessary — and not just to provoke the inevitable jokes about his television show. The president was acting within the law. She wasn’t.
But what was the cause of her insubordination? What impelled this woman toward this obvious narcissistic grandstanding? Whatever Ms. Yates’ personality or world view, the relentlessly hostile atmosphere toward Trump created and maintained by the mainstream media encouraged her and gave her permission to — sorry for the psychoanalytic jargon but it’s appropriate — “act out.” She could be a star and she knew it. The media would love her.
In its righteous indignation bordering on religious fervor, most of the media pretended that this executive order was some startling, rash new action, not the eighteen-month old platform proposal everyone knew it was. How dishonest is that. When Steve Bannon calls the media the “opposition party,” he may be understating things. They are more the unremitting insurrectionists in a pointless revolution of entitlement and self-interest.
Of course, that does not exonerate Ms. Yates. It merely points out that she is just another hitherto unknown foot soldier in an ongoing war, looking for her moment in the sun. The weird part of this media war on Trump is that he is fighting for things that only a few years ago these same media would have applauded and espoused, had they been presented by someone on the other side. It’s all about power. Theirs.
Our country has long ago conflated politics with sports (“Our team is red hot. Your team is diddly squat”) to such a degree that ideas barely exist, only home teams (i. e. political parties, or, in this case, “opposition parties”). Ideas are traded back and forth like players. Five years ago when Obama restricted refugees, it was good. He was on the right team. Now, when Trump wants to do the same thing, it’s not. Wrong team. Time for demonstrations and riots in the streets, or airports, as the case may be. George Soros, call your office.
More than any other source, the mainstream media helped make this happen. They are the father and mother of this brain-dead, manufactured polarization that makes so many unable to think, not just Ms. Yates. When you watch the demonstrators in the streets and airports of our country, you are watching their children. And like many children, they’re not quite sure why they’re there, other than that everyone else is. It’s a group thing. When it comes to genuine ideas, they’re incoherent.
That’s who Sally Yates is — a U. of Georgia-educated lawyer, magna cum laude no less — with nothing more than attitude in lieu of the law. In reality, she’s a wannabe demonstrator. She deserves to be indicted and have her license to practice law yanked. But no, she shouldn’t go to jail. She should get a job and do something useful — far from the law. On the weekends, she can go protest all she wants. Just don’t block traffic and don’t inconvenience air travelers.
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His latest book is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already. Follow him on Twitter @rogerlsimon.