The headline references the last line of the second verse of America the Beautiful, a patriotic song that I believe would have made a much better national anthem than The Star Spangled Banner. But that's not the subject of this post. The subject is the pervasive attitude of lawlessness emanating from Washington. I have never in my many years seen the like. Yes, Dick Nixon and Bill Clinton lied, for which they were either impeached (Clinton) or threatened with impeachment. No such fate awaits our present occupant of the White House who is insulated by the inevitable accusations of racism directed towards any opposition.
There is an old saying about not seeing the forest for the trees. The blizzard of scandals and outright prevarication endemic today I believe obscures a much greater threat to our Republic. We are focused on the IRS, NSA, VA, Benghazi, Syria, Iraq, Obamacare's illegal "adjustments", border incursion of thousands of "children" (many are teenagers), and other outrages, while the larger issue is obfuscated. That is the cancerous spread of arrogant lawlessness and disregard of the Constitution that this administraton practices every day.
Our nation's leader has discovered the secret. The Attorney General, constitutionally charged with enforcement of the nation's laws, is in his pocket and will not enforce any law the president doesn't like. These actions are justified as being "for our own good" or to "correct inequality." Thus we have the basis for despotism. The Marquis de Custine in 1839 observed, "Despotism is never a greater menace than when it claims to do good. It excuses its most heinous acts by its intentions, and evil posing as a remedy has no limits." Make no mistake; what is happening is evil with respect to the preservation of our Republic.
However, the real enabler of this outrageous behavior is us. As Pogo Possum observed many years ago, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." Where is the public outrage? Where is the media outrage" (O.K., I guess that's expecting too much.) If we allow this cancer to consume our nation in the name of benefits and governmental paternalism, we have no one to blame but ourselves. Perhaps the worst consequence is the spread of this paradigm throughout society. "If the government can get away with lying, cheating and ignoring the law, well, why can't we?" Should we be surprised at widespread cheating in schools and colleges, corporate irresponsibility and greed, local political and governmental corruption, and lawlessness among inner city youth? Monkey see and monkey do.
Edward Gibbon, author of the monumental work The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, said it well regarding the fall of the city-state of Athens, a lesson for us all:
"In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all -- security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again."
If we as a nation do not rise and clean up this putrid mess in Washington and elsewhere, then we are indeed doomed to second-rate status and mean pettiness. Moral principles matter. The Ten Commandments are more than the "Ten Suggestions." Whether or not you subscribe to Biblical precepts of conduct, the Christian ethic guided this nation for a very long time. Yes, there were injustices and corruption, but they were anomalous, not basic. Slavery was wrong but we eliminated it at great cost. There was corporate greed but it was considered wrong, not "business as usual." There was a foundation of morality that is missing today. There were no mass murders or school shootings. There was respect for authority and it worked, not perfectly but a lot better than now. And we were strong.
We must begin to see the forest before we as a nation become totally lost in the woods of corruption and lawlessness. Wake up, folks; time is not on our side.