Hoover’s FBI and its threat to the Preservation of our Democratic Values and Institutions, February 8, 2014
Herbert L. Calhoun
Seen properly in its widest context, this book tells us an important story about ourselves. It is a story about a familiar political game that our leaders continue to play on us. First they tell us what to be afraid of, and then they ask us to trust them to know how to protect us? For us to ask questions, to seek open debate, or to make enquiries about any of this is considered disloyal and unpatriotic?
The story in this book is about how one much-revered individual acquired, and then grossly misused the power and trust “we the people” vested in him; and how he was subtly given permission to serve as a proxy for the nation’s darkest inner fears. Thus, it is only in this sense that Betty Medsger’s book, “The Burglary,” is a story about the FBI — as it is seen indirectly from the vantage point of being the failed institutional reflection of its creator and “leader for life,” J. Edgar Hoover (JEH).
This book thus tells the story of what happens when one of our most revered heroes is allowed to lock himself behind a wall of secrecy, where he and the institution he leads is accountable to no one. And where the willfully created but bogus legends about him are allowed to grow to mythical proportions — until, that is, the truth begins to unravel them. This narrative shows us what happens when that process, and the game of fear upon which it depends, gets played out as trust in our hero begins to wan, and as his image becomes darker and more tarnished as he flails, misfires, turns against us; and finally explodes and disintegrates like a Roman candle on the Fourth of July.
The national hero in question of course is none other than the afore mentioned John Edgar Hoover, who’s legend, up until the burglary at the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, was as pristine as Caesar’s wife’s bedroom linen. JEH’s FBI shield, literally was the nation’s collective shield against all of America’s worst fears: the Communists spies, the terrorists, the anti-Vietnam war peace activists, religious pacifists, left-leaning liberals generally, but most of all it was a collective shield against the one symbol that condensed all of these fears into one: America’s black population. Mr. Hoover’s hatred for blacks was visceral and so virulent that by the time of the burglary, it is not an exaggeration to say that it had “gone critical.”