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At first, it seemed people that didn’t trust the government lived in isolated rural outposts and were survivalists hell bent on avoiding taxes. There was a certain stigma attached to being a government dissenter. Alas, images of tin foil hats and mysterious black helicopters are easy to envision.
The Patriot Act awoke many Americans to the dangers of a large, overreaching and powerful government. The federal government conducting drones strikes against Americans on foreign soil, without due process, troubled anyone interested in protecting civil liberties or due process. The recent scandals involving the Obama administration have given vindication to those that see big government as the problem and not the solution.
What seemed to be an attitude shared by mountain men and isolationists is now permeating into the very fabric holding the country together. Let’s take a look as some of the scandals embroiling the White House and see how they relate to our trust in government.
The IRS scandal involves targeting certain groups based on their political affiliations. If there is one department we all need to believe is impartial, it’s the one that handles the sensitive area of taxation. I’m sure having this happen in an election year is quite concerning to many liberals who fight for every citizen to get their voice heard.
What has me nervous about this scandal is the Obamacare implications and how they pertain to our privacy.
Sarah Hall Ingram was the IRS official in charge of tax exempt groups during the political targeting. Despite these incredible accusations against the department while serving as commissioner, she is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office. That’s right; the person in charge of a government agency that was targeting groups for political gain is now running the agency that is responsible for the health care legislation of Obamacare.
Anyone else have an uneasy feeling about what parts of our health information will be used against us for political reasons? How about using political leanings to decide who has priority for inevitable rationed procedures?
I don’t want to get into the detailed specifics because that’s another column all together, but altering what is told to the public for political purposes weeks before an election is wrong. The talking points released to the public were changed 12 times. It’s obvious that the administration did not want the words "Al Qaeda" or "terrorist attack" released in the official statement.
However, the truth is that Al Qaeda conducted a planned terrorist attack at the Benghazi consulate. These facts were altered for political reasons. If I can’t trust the government to release accurate facts about terrorist attacks, what trust do I have in them to give me reliable information about the economy, jobs, or foreign affairs?
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice has been using their considerable clout to investigate leaks involving national security risks in activities such as terror plots. People can argue about whether the press is protected from leaks involving classified material but I’m interested in a deeper pattern that seems to be emerging against political adversaries.
In addition to the AP, Fox News correspondent James Rosen has also been labeled as a possible "co-conspirator" for reporting on sensitive information. He even had his personal email searched and his State Department security badge information tracked in an overreach of government authority.
If that weren’t enough, CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson suggests that her work and personal computers have been compromised for over two years. It’s worth noting that Attkisson has a history of critical reporting in regards to the Obama administration. If a political reporter for left leaning CBS News begins to wonder about a connection between her reporting and government overreach, how can any of us trust our government when it comes to protecting our Constitutional rights?
If you don’t want to talk about Benghazi, the DOJ or the IRS, perhaps we could talk about the developing EPA scandal? It’s alleged that the Obama administration’s EPA gave favorable treatment to liberal groups, while obstructing conservative organizations, when it came to Freedom of Information Act requests. This scandal looks quite similar to the IRS scandal and shows a pattern of big government overreach through political influence.
There are many other examples of recent federal overreach besides the four scandals I have listed above. However, these examples do a good job of showing how the government has moved to a position of rewarding (or punishing) citizens and groups based on their political beliefs. It’s because of this incremental intrusion on our rights that mistrusting the government has gone from the woods of Montana to main streets all over the country.
How can I trust the government? Based on my political beliefs, I simply can’t.
John Mumper is married with two young daughters. He was born in Wisconsin and grew up on various types of farms throughout the state. John was educated at UW-Whitewater with degrees in Political Science and History and has traveled extensively throughout the world.
Today, he works closely with various types and sizes of manufacturers and building products suppliers as an outside salesman. In his spare time, he enjoys the Milwaukee Brewers, Green Bay Packers, politics and brewing his own powerful beers.