An Ode to a Frenemy of Mine

Tom Deriggi and I came from completely different backgrounds, but, as the universe would have it, our paths intertwined. He was a heavyset guy with bright red flushed cheeks that seemed to accentuate his greyish blue eyes. Politically, we were on two opposite spectrums: Tom on the far right, arms folded, chest out; me on the left, feet set and ideas ready to pour from me like fire from a dragon.

Today, I found out that Tom is dead. I do not know what led to his death or even the specific date he passed away. What I do know is that he’s been gone since at least June 2017. As I read the FB post “Rest in Peace” underneath his photo and saw the same words emblazoned over a picture of Tom posted by his brother, I felt a deep pang in my chest.

Tom and I built a close relationship rooted in arguments and different ideals. He challenged me as much as I did him, and he offered me a different perspective from my own. Him being nearly three decades my junior, I respected how he apologetically held his ground. Even in the heat of our debates, we found time to laugh and relate.

Without a doubt, I will miss you, Tom. Our brief friendship faded as quickly as it came. There is so much I do not know about you, that I want to know about you, that I will never know about you, not on this plane. You will continue to be a mystery to me, one that drives me to do better and learn what everyone thinks.

I am glad to have known you, Tom.

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A Review of A Higher Loyalty by James Comey

James Comey’s book A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership is a trip through the mind of one of the humblest men to pen a book and put it all on the line. At times, Comey opens to the point of vulnerability, expressing his true feelings and daring not hold back. Years from now, this book will be cataloged as history and stand partially as a reference on the most controversially detrimental presidencies this country has ever seen.

Although the end of the book speaks on Donald Trump and likens him to a mob boss with his “us versus them world view” and his “silent circle of assent” in which he says something and, because no one disagrees with him or speaks up, they all become complicit in whatever Trump is doing, Loyalty is about more than that. It is about the career of a man who never seemed to make as much money as he deserved, a man who lost a baby, a man who did his best to uphold the law.

Comey speaks of how much he hated bullies. Being a tall, lanky kid who did not have many friends, he was quite often bullied. At some point, he became a bully but realized he was wrong. He prosecuted many bullies in his days. And though he seems to have some level of respect for mob bosses to the effect of not embarrassing them in front of their families with an arrest, he sees them as a danger to society. He believes that no man, regardless of money, is above the law.

Admittedly, Comey acknowledges that he was no supporter of Barack Obama. However, after having met with him several times, he gained a great deal of respect for Obama’s honesty and focus. Once, when Comey gave a speech on law enforcement and the Black community, he called the bad guys “weeds.” Obama was able to challenge him on this term and help him realize why to some in the Black community it may have been offensive.

On several occasions during Comey’s term as FBI director, Donald Trump attempted to get the Director to pledge loyalty to him. Comey had been investigating Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton and some believed the investigation had led to her losing the election. Trump may have been one of those people and probably concluded that Comey was “a friend” of his. When he realized Comey was not, Trump fired him. FBI directors serve ten-year terms. Comey did not even serve four.

Comey speaks about being fired and how it hurt him. Even with that, his evaluation of Trump’s presidency as a “forest fire” is fair. He insinuates that Trump’s presidency is a threat to democracy. Still, he is hopeful, saying that forest fires make way for new life.

This book deserves 4.2 stars out of 5. Comey’s views on issues and crime within the Black community are shallow and static. Outside of being a law enforcement agent, he obviously has not read a great deal about the Black community or has not done any grassroots there to really feel what is happening there. Still, on other topics like Donald Trump as a compulsive liar and Barack Obama’s even-handed foresight, his evaluations are spot-on. Comey comes across as an honorable man and one would be hard-pressed to prove that everything he did in his career did not come from a good place within him.

#jamescomey #higherloyalty #barackobama #trump #donaldtrump