In the Western monarchies of bygone days, the Divine Right of Kings stated, although less colloquially: “If God didn’t want me to be your king, I wouldn’t be your king, so it is evidently the Will of God that I rule. Thus, as your sovereign, I am not subject to your will; you are subject to mine, so suck it up and obey.” The rationale was that the ruler answered only to God – which I imagine was very convenient for those rulers with a tyrannical bent.
Of course, that was a major bit of medieval propaganda calculated to engender obedience among the peasants. I mean, the belief that by standing against royalty they were standing against God must have been pretty compelling to a pious but woefully uneducated citizenry.
There’s a certain audacity that goes hand-in-hand with the ability of today’s politicians to say some things with a straight face – that is, without bursting out in laughter. Like the spin that has issued from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s camp regarding her private email server scandal, for instance. Last week, Clinton refused to turn over the server in question (which she might have put into use illegally), then insisted that she “fully complied” with the law and that Congress would just have to trust her.
The issue was settled: Hillary had spoken.
President Obama apparently claimed he learned of the email scandal in the New York Times. All things considered, at first I thought he might be joking – but he wasn’t. Contradictions abound relative to Clinton’s claims, particularly for those who watched her press conference on the subject last week.
The president’s comments prompted Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, to Tweet:
Obama: I repeatedly corresponded with Hillary's personal email which I didn't know about until this week http://t.co/SfYEoZ4syS
— Steve Stockman (@SteveWorks4You) March 9, 2015
I’m not going to get into a deep analysis of what Hillary did and whether or not it was unlawful at this time; what’s clear is that she wanted to maintain precisely the sort of control she currently holds over the emails she generated and received when she was secretary of state. Whether she was trying to protect herself from potential treachery on Obama’s part (which is altogether understandable, if not a valid legal excuse), or trying to avoid general scrutiny (since her standard operating procedure has often meandered into the realm of the unlawful), or both is immaterial.
I also don’t want to focus too much on Obama’s rhetoric and deeds, because these are so over-the-top compared to anything we have seen from an American president that it would skew the data, as it were, with regard to reasonable standards of ethics we might expect from those in government.
What I’d like people to think about is the general attitude of those we have chosen to govern, this imperious bearing that we have increasingly seen in our elected officials, executive appointees and even their subordinates. It reflects an outlook that is wholly inappropriate to their positions, one that has evolved over the last hundred years from statesman-servant to politician to that of royalty.
This attitude transcends even the self-aggrandizing politician who is primarily interested in enriching himself or herself materially. It goes far and beyond the ethical ambivalence of politicians that has engendered an almost traditional cynicism among voters.
The prevailing comportment that we see in our elected officials (at the federal level for certain, and even many at the state level) hearkens back to that of the royal castes in the days of the divine right monarchies. They behave as though they truly believe they are not subject to the will of the people, despite this being codified in our Constitution, but that we are subject to their will, so we’d better suck it up and obey.
Some also seem to believe that their invulnerability extends to the commission of actual crimes. When Attorney General Eric Holder was equivocating before the House Judiciary Committee last April, and Rep. Louie Gohmert said that he realized having been held in contempt of Congress (for refusing to surrender documents related to the Operation Fast and Furious investigation) was “not a big deal to our attorney general,” Holder bristled and uttered the memorable “You don’t want to go there, buddy.” He later whined to an audience at one of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network events that he and the president were persistently treated with disrespect because of their ethnicity.
In his incomprehensible temerity, Holder completely disregarded the fact that you don’t get held in contempt of Congress for chewing gum in class. It’s analogous to being held in contempt of court – worse, really – yet, while most of us would be promptly handcuffed and escorted to a cell, Holder … well, I’m not sure what if any consequence he will ever face. This display indicated much more than Holder’s excessive and unwarranted racial sensitivities; it was a case of good old-fashioned ruling-class narcissism.
And he thinks blacks haven’t come very far since the Civil Rights Movement …
This all holds true regardless of political party. In fact, we are seeing just as much of this in entrenched Republican politicians as we are in Democrats. When they publicly disparage the tea party and other conservative groups, for example, it is a direct and effective disenfranchisement of millions of their own constituents.
In truth, it is they who are in the minority; based upon their actions, they are clearly aligned more closely with the progressive left – and even Obama’s fundamental transformation radicals – than they are with rank-and-file Republican voters.
These are things that all Americans will be forced to consider as they come to realize how high the stakes have become relative to our economy, sovereignty, national security and the threats to their liberties; further, how their birthright has been stolen and sold off, and what this will really mean to them in the long term.
How Americans respond to this realization – not the actions of our government – will determine our nation’s future.