Let’s face it, the people we elect to office aren’t perfect. Far from it. Intellectually we know this the day we cast a ballot. Despite campaign cycles that seem to last forever, by the time Election Day rolls around voters have no true idea who or even what they might be voting for or against.
It’s a crapshoot, really.
But it’s a safe bet that locally and nationally, anyone we vote for these days is pretty far removed from the great thinkers, adventurers and warriors who helped found this nation. I haven’t cast any ballots for the next James Madison lately, have you?
So I tend to view elected officials with a certain amount of skepticism and cynicism as they take office. I can’t help it really. That’s an occupational hazard. Besides, the loyal and partisan opposition to elected leaders are basically cartoons, when you think about it — like the movie scene in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” where the human figure tells Roger Rabbit “no” in order to make him eventually yell “yes.”
But what I try to do is give anyone the benefit of the doubt as they rise to a political office. They all deserve a chance to either succeed or fail without being badgered to death with criticism or overwhelmed with praise. And while I might not always agree with what a political leader does or says, I wait until they really screw it up to get too mouthy about it. George W. Bush, for example, didn’t really get my blood boiling until he sent troops into Iraq. What a bonehead play. From that point, it was all downhill.
And Barack Obama? Well, I’m not a fan of how health care reform played out — but something needed to be done and no one else was willing to step up to the plate. And he seems preoccupied with being a celebrity in chief as opposed to a commander in chief. Other than that, though, I wanted to see what he might accomplish.
But recent events: The bungling of the Benghazi aftermath (just spit out the story and get on with it); the recent revelations of how the IRS perhaps targeted opposition political groups for extra attention when Obama-friendly groups did not receive similar scrutiny; and most especially the Department of Justice’s unwarranted search of telephone records at the Associated Press, all paint a disturbing image of an administration lurching perilously out of control and willing to steamroll anyone who dares voice opposition or raise a question. The matter of investigating a press organization is particularly troubling. Who, if not the press, is going to record and report actions taken by government on every level? That the press could be targeted by a law-enforcement arm of the government is a downhill ski run to government-controlled media and the end of any truth in our nation.
If we’re not there already.
I’m interested to see where the Obama Administration goes from here. It has to hold itself and its branches accountable on some level. And the Department of Justice must rethink its role and how it goes about its business. What is clear, is that it’s become an agency that believes whatever end it seeks justifies any means necessary — even trampling the rights of a free press. It’s time to clean house there. Well past time, perhaps.
Let’s see what unfolds.