We are a nation of laws, or at least we used to be.
We have become a nation of subjects living at the mercy of the whims of progressive politicians willing to use government agencies, their positions and a complicit media to trample voter’s rights, silence opposition and impose an agenda voters rejected and reject laws they explicitly supported. If the law can be overruled or ignored by politicians in this way, and government agencies can be weaponized, all while being ignored by the self-appointed “free press,” liberty isn’t just threatened, it’s dead.
The nation was shocked when it learned Obama administration used the Internal Revenue Service to target and silence political opponents, and the president swore at the time he would root out those responsible. But within weeks, he stopped caring and labeled it as a “phony scandal,” and the media fell in line and moved on. And this was just the tip of the power-abuse iceberg.
We still have no idea who ordered the IRS to target political foes of progressives – the trail ended when Lois Lerner read a 5-minute statement to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, then contemptibly and illegally took the Fifth rather than answer questions from committee members. Imagine the howls in the press if a Republican even tried to get away with that. Lerner not only got away with it, she was given paid leave then allowed to retire with full benefits. And the targeting not only continues, but progressives now seek to codify in regulation the abuses they undertook so they can silence opposition in the future.
It’s something out of a Hollywood movie…only Hollywood has become a player in the fight. Well, not exactly a player, more like an unwilling participant.
Hollywood conservatives, to the extent they exist, have a group called Friends of Abe. It’s essentially a social club where people who otherwise have to hide their personal opinions because they wouldn’t get work get together and talk, sometimes with politicians as guests. I first heard about the group from Andrew Breitbart, who was an integral member. He expressed the importance not only of the anonymity of the members, but of the existence of the group at the time. The group eventually became known, but the membership, beyond a few, remained a closely guarded secret. Enter the IRS.
FoA applied for tax-exempt status and soon found itself on the IRS hit list. Not only does the IRS want financial records, it wants names. It’s not illegal to join a conservative group (yet), not even in Hollywood, but it can be career suicide. Moreover, it’s no one’s damn business who joins a social club of like-minded political colleagues. But if you want to ruin people, if you want to codify uniformity of thought and silence people who dare step out of line, you need to identify them.
For all the talk of “McCarthyism” by progressives, they conveniently ignore a few things about the late senator. First, he did root out communists who had infiltrated government (the real sin for which they won’t forgive him). And second, his right hand in the “witch hunt” was none other than their hero, Robert F. Kennedy.
As progressives cheer the IRS’ embrace of deplorable tactics because those tactics help major funders “purge” their ranks of impurity, the federal level is not the only one on which they work against liberty.
The state of New York, under the leadership of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is seeking to “audit” the books of Project Veritas. PV, the group founded by gonzo journalist James O’Keefe, exposes progressive hypocrisy and illegality and provides a clear-as-day juxtaposition that exposes the complicity of traditional media in shrouding the progressive agenda in legitimacy. Another unforgivable sin.
New York has no reason to believe there is any problem with PV’s books. It just wants to make sure … in the same way the Stasi used to just want to make sure. And it’s not the financials New York cares about anyway. It’s the names. If you want to target your enemies, it helps to know their names.
The media silence on this abuse is drowned out only by the sound of its drooling at the prospect of investigating those names.
Fascism is alive and well in the Empire State.
But the assault on conservatives is only one front in the war on liberty. After all, what’s the point of attacking your enemies if you don’t have an agenda to advance?
President Obama’s “democracy by dictate” is widely known and celebrated by the media, his “pen and phone” will make the history books. But his ignoring and/or changing the law, even laws he supported, is not unique to him. His example has and will serve as inspiration for other progressive politicians.
One such example is Mark Herring, the new attorney general of Virginia. Herring, a former state senator who voted in favor of a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, announced this week that, as Attorney General, he would not defend the law against a legal challenge.
When Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban ballot initiative in California cruised to easy victory, the attorney general there also refused to defend a law overwhelmingly supported by voters. Citizen groups stepped up to do the job the AG refused to do. The ban was overturned by a lower court, and the Supreme Court ruled the plaintiffs did not have standing because they were not the state government. So, by refusing to defend a law directly approved by voters, the AG of California effectively overturned the will of the people and replaced it with his own.
The same thing is happening in Virginia.
Because this is happening on gay marriage, many people won’t care. But if the rule of law and the clear will of the people can be overturned on the whims of a politician, either by action or lack thereof, there is no law.
Progressives are the quickest to cry “democracy” when it suits their needs, yet they routinely ignore public opinion when it’s against them. And they’ve never been afraid to use the courts to get what they couldn’t get what they wanted at the ballot box. But now, packing the courts is not the sure thing they’re looking for, so they’ve gone a step farther and gotten politicians sworn to uphold the law to go against their oaths. We are close to transforming this nation from one of laws to one of progressive whims.
There are bad laws and wrong laws and laws that don’t work. But the beauty of our system is there is a way to change them – through our representatives. And if our representatives don’t change or pass the laws we want, we can vote in new ones. But the left is moving us toward a new normal, one in which “We The People” are removed from the process. Progressive politicians ignoring or rewriting laws at will moves us from a system where government derives its power from the consent of the governed to one where we exist on the whims of a few politicians.
You may not care now because the whims are in your favor. If you support gay marriage in California or Virginia, you may be quite content with your AG refusing to enforce them. If you support Colorado and Washington flouting federal drug laws by legalizing marijuana and getting the OK from Attorney General Eric Holder, you may be happy now. If you support amnesty, you may support President Obama deciding to treat immigration law as if the DREAM Act were passed by Congress and signed by him.
But whims change. Power passes to people you may not agree with or who take it to an even greater extreme, and their abuses may not be so much to your taste. What then? Where will you go for justice when you realize a right you do care about is gone and its return is dependent upon the whims of someone elected to protect it, only they aren’t interested in giving it back?
Derek Hunter is Washington, DC based writer, radio host and political strategist. You can also stalk his thoughts 140 characters at a time on Twitter.