Would Clarice Starling Join Today's FBI?
One of the realities of today's ubiquitous and uncontrolled media environment is that children and young people can be exposed to Donald Trump on a daily basis. Would a young Clarice Starling, growing up today, want to join the FBI, given what Trump is doing and saying about law enforcement in general and that institution in particular?
Fictional Clarice was the daughter of a police officer who died from wounds received while carrying out his law-enforcement duties. Clarice, a small town Southern girl, was raised with a very traditional values and ethics. Her father's death devastated her and influenced her decision to pursue a career in law enforcement.
Clarice could accurately be described as “conservative“ at least in the sense that she subscribed to traditional and even old-fashioned ideas about right and wrong. In her day, aspiring to join the premier lawn enforcement agency in the land could be a natural thing for someone with her history and intelligence to do.
Today she might reconsider wanting to join the FBI, intentionally tainted it as it is by Trump's constant references to “deep state“ and political “witch hunts.“ Clarice would never want to work for an organization that is out to undermine the law. If she thought that’s what the FBI was doing, she would probably look elsewhere for her career path.
There’s no telling what the ripple effects of losing recruits like Clarice would be for the FBI if other members of the “best and brightest” also hesitated about joining the FBI.
People like Clarice, raised to believe in the law and the intelligent management of law-enforcement, might think twice about joining a “tainted“ organization like the FBI. Were that the case the Buffalo Bills of the world would probably breathe much easier.
Text copyright © 2018 by Dennis D. McDonald. Image from the 1991 movie "Silence of the Lambs" starring Jodie Foster as FBI trainee Clarice Starling.
ADDENDUM May 26, 2018, Added after the premise of this piece was questioned on Google+:
Adult Clarice is one of the most intelligent and brave characters I've seen. I encouraged my kids to watch SILENCE OF THE LAMBS as soon as they were old enough because I thought young adult Clarice was as good a fictional role model as any I had ever seen, especially for young women and girls. But what if Clarice as a little girl -- not as a University of Virginia grad -- had been exposed in her rural town to Trump? Would she have grown up with the same respect for the rule of law and law enforcement? What if her town was smarting from the loss of manufacturing jobs or had experienced an influx of South American immigrants willing to work the low-wage food prep jobs that older residents avoided? What if the local Sinclair station was parroting the same political verbiage as other Sinclair stations? Would she have still retained her conservative and traditional law-and-order values we see demonstrated in the book and the movie?