Here in the United States, we operate on what’s essentially an honor system of governance: we trust that government officials (whether elected or appointed) will be honest and act within the confines of the law.
They’re our “Watchmen”: duty-bound public servants who’ve sworn an oath to protect and uphold our local/national Constitutions.
But what happens when that trust is violated? What happens when, time after time, we see that the folks entrusted to enforce the rules are bending, breaking or completely ignoring those very same rules to our detriment?
Once upon a time, as happened back in the 70’s with President Nixon, the nation was aghast by such things. Back then, Nixon resigned before he could be formally impeached, but the system ultimately worked as planned: The “Watchmen” had done their job when one of their own stepped out of line, and Justice was served.
But somewhere along the way, that’s all changed, hasn’t it?
Sure, we have elections to throw out the thieves and charlatans, but for the most part once someone gets elected, political inertia makes it difficult to remove them from office. And due to public unions, it’s practically impossible to remove a non-elected public employee, even if he/she has proven completely untrustworthy (e.g. Lois Lerner).
Actually, it’s even worse than that.
In what has become a symbol of Obama’s America, the folks charged with enforcing the rules (the Government), in cooperation with the folks who are supposed to hold them accountable on our behalf (the Media), are instead working together to lie to us, control us, and (if we get a tad too uppity) punish us.
We’ve pointed out plenty of examples as of late, but there’s more: LOTS more. Look no further than Obamacare, Fast n’ Furious, NSA, Benghazi, or the IRS scandals for starters. Add to that the DOJ’s lawsuits against Arizona (re: immigration) and Texas (re: Voter ID). And we’ve certainly seen more than a few instances of both State and Municipal auditors using (and abusing) their power to target political enemies.
There’s another case which has (so far) been flying under-the-radar: the Department of Justice’s suing of Standard & Poor’s. Try as you might, there doesn’t seem to be any plausible reason why S&P should be on the receiving end of this DOJ lawsuit, while other rating agencies are totally ignored, except for the obvious difference:
S&P dared to downgrade the U.S. credit rating back in 2011, and the others didn’t.
Standard & Poor’s was acting as one of our “Watchmen” this time around, …and the Government didn’t like it one bit.
This past week S&P decided to counter-sue the DOJ, although it’s anyone’s guess if that will ultimately work in their favor. And regardless of how their dueling lawsuits turn out, the American people have been officially put on notice that we can no longer implicitly trust in the honor system of government that many of us, naïvely, took for granted.
Who’s watching the “Watchmen”? It’d better be us, because today too many of our Watchmen seem to only be watching out for each other.