On May 5, speaking at Ohio State University, Barack Obama lamented that “Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems. Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, and creative, and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.”
Obama has it exactly wrong. It is not that our experiment in self-rule is a sham, or that it can’t be trusted, it is that the experiment has been undermined by the growing power of government in our lives, the very danger of which the Founding Fathers warned us. James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution” declared that “The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.” Obama tries to convince us of just the opposite; namely, that we should place our trust in a benevolent government which will take care of us, and all we have to do is give up a little freedom.
Up until now, the media has steadfastly protected Obama from the effects of scandal. It has been singularly incurious as to the truth about the Fast and Furious scandal, a program through which the Obama Justice Department sold guns to Mexican drug cartels, which in turn have been used to kill U.S. law enforcement officers, and hundreds of Mexican citizens. Likewise, the media actively obscured the truth about the deaths of Americans in Benghazi on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The truth of that fiasco now pours out, with whistleblowers coming forward to expose the administration’s lies.
Yet no sooner had Obama tried to lull the OSU students, and the American people in general, into a false sense of security from which they can take comfort in Big Government, than more scandals began to break which show just how much we should distrust government.
The media, the human shield for Obama’s power grabs, now feels betrayed with the revelation that the Justice Department has secretly obtained two months’ worth of phone records of reporters and editors working for The Associated Press. This was not just for work phones, but home phones and personal cellphones as well. This information was obtained secretly, with no presentation of a subpoena, and it is unclear whether conversations were recorded during this time. Considering that the press is the only occupation protected by the Bill of Rights, specifically because of its (supposed) role as a watchdog which informs the people of government abuse of power, it is clear that such a move has the intended effect of warning whistleblowers and an expositive press to watch their backs.
In tandem with the revelation of government secretly gathering private information about the press is the revelation that the IRS has been singling out conservative political groups in general, and TEA Parties in particular, for “extra review,” which is a polite way of saying that they were harassed and intimidated by maybe the most feared agency in American government. Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS department with oversight for tax-exempt organizations, learned nearly two years ago that groups whose names contained words like “patriot,” “TEA Party” and “9-12 Project” were being given “special” treatment. In January of 2012, the criteria for targeting suspect groups was changed to “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement.” If, as Obama says, government is not tyrannical and can be trusted, then why target groups whose purpose is to educate people on the principles upon which our nation was founded, and to hold government accountable? In a separate incident revealed just this week, it is alleged that the IRS stole 60 million medical records of American citizens after raiding a California company, without warrant or subpoena. On the bright side, this is the same IRS that will be enforcing ObamaCare. Nothing to worry about … right?
Even these scandals are just the tip of the iceberg. There is a push right now to ram through a “comprehensive” immigration reform bill. Republicans feel compelled to support it in order to reach out to Hispanics and prove they are not racist. Democrats support it because they see it as a guaranteed influx of ten million or more Democrat voters. But hidden in the bill is legalese which essentially authorizes the de facto creation of a national ID card, a form of identification which uses biometric data on every American to track them and which could eventually be tied into existing databases controlled by other entities, which would essentially allow government to know everything about our financial status, spending habits, health care, etc. Americans have repeatedly rejected such an effort, but government keeps trying to find a way to slip it in through the back door.
More than a decade ago, Congress authorized the USA PATRIOT Act with broad bipartisan support, allowing government unprecedented powers to gather information on those within our borders for the purpose of thwarting the next terrorist attack. At the time, I had serious concerns about its constitutionality, yet gave it lukewarm support out of fear of another attack. I reasoned that such intrusions were necessary to keep us safe, even as the words of Benjamin Franklin, which declared that those who would trade freedom for security will get neither, gnawed in the back of my mind. In recent years, I’ve begun to realize my initial concerns were very much justified. Concerns over safety were used to justify the imprisonment of Japanese-American citizens by Roosevelt during WWII. It is being used today to justify spying on U.S. citizens, and was even used by AG Eric Holder to justify the potential assassination of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil by drone attack.
Government, said George Washington, “is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master!” With each passing day, government grows larger and more powerful, and we as citizens grown smaller and weaker. Government now controls every conceivable aspect of our lives, and yet its current vast powers are still not enough to satiate the leviathan. It wants more power, more wealth, more control. And it will stop at nothing to get it.
Just days before the 2012 elections, Obama’s closest advisor, Valerie Jarrett, said “After we win this election, it’s our turn. Payback time. Everyone not with us is against us and they better be ready because we don’t forget. The ones who helped us will be rewarded, the ones who opposed us will get what they deserve. There is going to be hell to pay. Congress won’t be a problem for us this time. No election to worry about after this is over …”
According to Obama, government is benign and only concerned with doing good for the people it serves, so we have nothing to worry about.
Just trust them.