The Deep State: Fake? Real? Or Really Good?

What’s that fuzzy feeling in my head? Did I guzzle too many IPAs last night in the midst of the East Coast heat wave? Actually, it has nothing to do with my hop intake—it’s purely political. Call it an Orwellian hangover.

I’m old enough to remember many things: When Star Wars didn’t have witch covens; When Walmart staff actually knew where things were located in their store and could converse in basic English; When people actually fought fiercely over trivial questions instead of just whipping out the glowing eye-sucking squares in our pockets for immediate answers; When Fruitopia existed and cost a buck a bottle.

I also remember when the “deep state” was a loony conspiracy theory pushed by a president who was so demented he was liable to initiate World War III. In “There Is No Deep State,” New Yorker editor David Remnick excoriated Donald Trump as a paranoid Caesar who fanatically believed a bureaucrat cabal was furiously plotting to “smear and stymie a President and bring him low.” This was in March 2017, not two months into Trump’s first term. Remnick attributed Trump’s detestation of his own subversive employees as anger “that intelligence and investigative services have been looking into possible Russian connections to him.”

Of course, no such cahoot was uncovered, despite FBI suits, including a hapless, gangly James Comey, constructing elaborate Manchurian-candidate theories to justify prying into the president’s life. After breathlessly reporting on an imminent Putin-Trump paddy-cake scheme for years, the media simply shrugged the affair off as a Mueller mulligan.

Washington warps failure into costless do-overs, so the Russia-collusion lie was ultimately chalked up to a shrugging “mistakes were made” non-apology. So what if the deep state botched a Russo-influence op, or, for that matter, the Iraq War, the Afghanistan quagmire, violently dissembling Libya into a European migrant vector, or the 9/11 attacks? What kind of cynical patriot keeps score anyway?

Not long after the IC failed to nail Trump on Moscowphilia, the deep state was soon spun from fiction into beloved fact. Doing the rounds for some soon-to-be-remaindered poli-serial book, which was undoubtedly co-authored by a flock of underpaid amanuenses, former Clinton consiglieri and ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos told the henhouse hosts of The View: “Well, the big thing I learned doing this book is that the deep state is packed with patriots.” Spoken like a true “insider.” Who knew Langley’s subterranean nests of Web3 weirdos were actually a bunch of flag-flogging Uncle Sams, and not autistic know-it-alls too bored to finish college. The “actually, the deep state is cool” line wasn’t a Stephanopoulos slobbering original. Two months prior, the New York Times published a video titled “It Turns Out the ‘Deep State’ Is Actually Kind of Awesome” that focused on the humdrum lives of federal factotums whose job is “saving us from Armageddon.” (That’s not an out-of-whole-cloth quote.) In the course of fifty years, the Times went from outing the incompetence of Washington’s war players by publishing the Pentagon Papers to likening agency desk jockeys to a democratic stentorian guard.

It’s not enough that the Grey Lady has forsaken its Liberty-leading image to be a Potomac puto polishing brass knobs across the nation’s capital. Now the paper of record is running beguiling newspeak in defense of the unbudgeable bureaucracy she used to challenge. In “The Resistance to a New Trump Administration Has Already Started,” the Times, with all the seriousness the most popular fishwrapper in the world can muster, actually writes in the sub-lead: “An emerging coalition that views Donald J. Trump’s agenda as a threat to democracy is laying the groundwork to push back.”

The piece has four bylines, including Trump courtiers Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Swan, which means four reporters approved of that eye-crossing phrasing. No fair mind can conjugate its meaning: unelected bureaucrats are prepping to subvert democratic rule to save democracy. It’s Dubya doublespeak all over: “I have abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.”

The report explains precautions state governments, non-profits, and lawyers are taking to prepare for Trump Term Two, including stockpiling the abortion pill mifepristone and hiring auditors in case a MAGA-commandeered IRS launches an invasive audit. “A sprawling network of Democratic officials, progressive activists, watchdog groups and ex-Republicans has been taking extraordinary steps to prepare for a potential second Trump presidency” is how quadri-dispatch describes the scheme. The “sprawling network” really is diffused and definitive, if understated by the Times. It’s not just a bunch of scrappy governors and thinly funded 501c(3) scrambling to fortify their meager ranks. The colossal, unwieldy, far-flung federal bureaucracy is no doubt preparing for a second Trump turn, this time with actual swamp drainage. In “What Trump’s War on the ‘Deep State’ Could Mean”, CNN details an unheard of concept in government work: imposing at-will employment.

Can you even imagine? The deputy assistant administrative clerk to the junior under-director associate coffee-gopher at the U.S. Geological Survey will no longer have total walking-paper immunity? Consider my pearls clutched. You know who else purged his own government?

The Associated Press reports that functionaries at the Office of Personnel Management, which resembles a Lubyanka where reprogramming for misgenderers takes place, have put forward a rule to thwart Trump reimposing “Schedule F,” a reclassification of federal employees to be fireable on command. Should the rule go into effect, it would take years of litigation to reform even a small slab of the federal behemoth so that it’s no longer a rotting sinecure.

The undemocratic implication is that if Donald Trump, or any candidate, was elected on a platform of plunging the government’s bloated bowels, he would be waylaid, stanched, halted, and neutered from doing so. By civil servants who are supposed to be performing a duty at the behest of taxpayers.

No wonder I’m suffering from a sophistic brainstorm. Fulfilling the will of voters by ignoring them! Defending democracy by disallowing democratic dissent! Protect the public by treating it like unthinking herd cattle!

The deep state is fake! Now it’s real! And now it’s good! And now we must respect and love it for eternity!

Orwell described it best what was once political parody but is slowly morphing into our reality: “In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record.”

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Free the People publishes opinion-based articles from contributing writers. The opinions and ideas expressed do not always reflect the opinions and ideas that Free the People endorses. We believe in free speech, and in providing a platform for open dialog. Feel free to leave a comment!

Taylor Lewis

Taylor Lewis writes from Virginia.

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