An IRS admission that some agents in the Cincinnati field office charged with reviewing applications for tax exempt status searched out tea party groups and any other entities using the words “Patriot” or “Constitution” in their name should disturb all Americans regardless of their political leanings.
The biggest danger to the future of a free republic like the United States is unchecked abuse of power by the government. If any segment of citizens believes government officials can freely abuse its power against them, ultimately the very security of the entire nation is threatened.
If our country is going to reach its three hundredth birthday in 2076, citizens need to know that the rule of law is always upheld and respected and that they have nothing to fear from a government with the potential to wield tremendous power over them.
Countries where such knowledge doesn’t exist are very fragile politically.
For example, years ago I spent time on a diplomatic trip to Egypt. During the trip, our group met with high ranking government officials bent on putting the best spin on the state of that country.
During a break one day, another visitor on the trip and I decided to take a visit to the local market. We were accompanied by a tour guide who had attended all the meetings with us but never said a word.
As we sat in the back of a large bus together chatting, the guide walked back to us, sat facing away from the driver, and spoke in a low voice, “You know everything they’ve been telling you here. . . . It’s a lie. This is a military dictatorship and people disappear in the night and go to prison all the time.”
He then got up and walked back to his seat. It’s one of the few times I recall him speaking to us during the trip, but I certainly will never forget it.
Since that time, the Egyptian government that this gentleman charged with tremendous abuses of power has fallen. Whether it’s been replaced with anything better is a subject for a different post.
The First Amendment came “first” for a reason. Our Founding Fathers valued freedom of speech (and religion). We must protect these freedoms at all costs.
Sadly, this isn’t the first or only abuse of government authority in this country now or in the past. Still, it can’t be excused in an “oh well, that’s life” fashion. We all need to join together against it.
Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Independents must all speak out vehemently against this sort of thing. We must passionately defend the right of each of us to express our political views without fear of retribution by the government.
Thomas Paine wrote, “He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”
This is absolutely one time “We the People” must stand up together with once clear voice confirming unequivocally that we stand firm in the principles we all profess to espouse.