If you remember from your school days, Diogenes was an ancient Greek philosopher who was said to have carried a lamp around, “searching for an honest man.” To me, that resembles the work of the Congressional January 6 Investigation Committee. They are examining an assault on the US Capitol that was broadcast live in real time…or, as The Daily Show host Trevor Noah puts it, “The Jan 6 Hearings: Investigating The Thing We All Saw.” They have been attempting to push back against a number of elected officials who have been trying to convince us that we didn’t see what we thought we saw; what we saw were “patriots” or “real Americans” or “lawful political expression” or in the words of Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde (R) “You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”
As I’ve stated before, I’ve live in or around Washington DC for close to half of my life. And just so you know, January 6 was NOT a normal tourist visit.
Finally, after so many former Trump administration officials have refused to cooperate with the Committee’s investigation, they found one who would. It was 25-year-old Cassidy Hutchinson, the primary aide to President Trump’s Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows. Meadows, who is in the midst of a Big Lie Voter Fraud investgation of his own, since he voted in the 2020 election in North Carolina by claiming a rented mobile home in the NC mountains as his primary residence although witnesses say he never spent one night there, has predictably refused to cooperate with the Committee. But his young aide has shown more courage and integrity in her short experience in politics than he, or almost anyone in the Trump Administration, has shown despite their many years in public service.
Hutchinson’s testimony had all sorts of bombshells and terrible stories about former President Trump’s behavior prior to or during the January 6 events. As someone who tries to focus on the positive, I don’t really want to repeat those things here. Instead, I want to concentrate on what I appreciate about her most of all.
When asked about her reaction to what she saw during the January 6 attacks, Hutchinson responded:
“As a staffer that works to always represent the administration to the best of my ability and to showcase the good things that he had done for the country, I remember feeling frustrated, disappointed, and really it felt personal.
As an American, I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic. It was un-American. We were watching the Capitol building get defaced over a lie.”
That is my absolute favorite takeaway from her testimony. I’m afraid that there are some people in former President Trump’s inner circle who truly have some cogitive or mental health issues. But I choose to believe that most of them, in their heart of hearts, felt the same way as Hutchinson as they watched the events of January 6 unfold. I can’t believe that men like former US Representative and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, or former Attorney General Bill Barr, or former Lt. General and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, or former Governor, US Representative, and Vice President Mike Pence–men whose entire professional lives had been spent in military or elected or other public service, men who had sworn multiple times to uphold the Constitution and to serve the American people–I can’t believe they weren’t horrified by an armed attack by fellow Americans on the home of our national legislative body and on our democratic process.
For most of these men, I haven’t agreed with their political positions on manyissues. But as someone who grew up in the Washington DC culture, I’ve respected their commitment to public service. I’ve lived in that environment and have personally known political families, so I’ve seen the price that having a high-level role in government demands. I’ve also, unfortunately, personally seen how seductive power and position can be and how people can abandon their principles to try to obtain or maintain that power and position. But I’ve also seen people who have realized their mistakes and moved back to their original comitments to public service, not private benefit.
Best of all, I’ve seen and lived with people (such as my father, one of the people with the most integrity I’ve ever known) who have stuck to their convictions regardless of the political whirlwinds that may be blowing around them. They are not the ones who make the headlines usually, although unfortunately some, such as the former US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, or former National Security Council Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, have made the headlines due to their testimonies and/or job dismissals for telling the truth. Still, I believe the majority of people working in federal government belong in this final category.
To me, Cassidy Hutchinson demonstrates why most people get into politics (although her political beliefs are different than mine on many issues, I respect her commitment). When she was still in college, she said this in a college newletter about her experiences as an intern in the offices of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and then Senator Ted Cruz:
“I have set a personal goal to pursue a path of civic significance. Interning on Capitol Hill confirmed my desire to continue a path in government, and when I learned about the White House internship I was eager to apply.”
Next, she interned in the Trump Administration’s White House Office of Legislative Affairs, about which she said:
“I was brought to tears when I received the email that I had been selected to participate. As a first-generation college student, being selected to serve as an intern alongside some of the most intelligent and driven students from across the nation – many of whom attend top universities – was an honor and a tremendous growing experience.
I attended numerous events hosted by the president, such as signing ceremonies, celebrations and presidential announcements, and frequently watched Marine One depart the South Lawn from my office window. My small contribution to the quest to maintain American prosperity and excellence is a memory I will hold as one of the honors of my life.”
Her closing remarks to her college newsletter about her experiences, before she had graduated and later went to work at the White House, about her post-graduation goals were:
“I am confident I will be an effective leader in the fight to secure the American dream for future generations, so they too will have the bountiful opportunities and freedoms that make the United States great.”
So this is my wish for the near future. May Cassidy Hutchinson’s example remind these people, and others, what public service is supposed to be about. May that reminder move them to forego their fears, their desires to look good, their self interest, or their ties to people who are not working in the best interests of the American people. May they remember why they chose to pursue public service, and return to those values.
It is never too late to do the right thing.
After all, in the old fairy tale, it was a child who announced that the Emperor had no clothes. Then all the adults were able to admit it as well. Obviously, Cassidy Hutchinson is not a child. But she is an example of the archetype of the Innocent, someone who does the right thing regardless of consequences. I hope she may inspire others to follow her lead and reclaim their own inner Innocent.
One thought on “Finally, the Jan 6 Diogenes Found His Honest Man. Turns Out It’s a Millenial Woman from New Jersey”
Well said and I appreciate your opinions.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France, French poet and novelist