Children of Liberty: Who and what makes a scandal?Written by Thomas Berry | | firstname.lastname@example.org
What defines a scandal, and how should we respond to one?
President Barack Obama’s second term is embroiled in controversy, the variety and breadth of which is startling. To name a few examples:
Ten-year-old Sara Murnaghan suffers from cystic fibrosis, and her only chance at life was to receive a lung transplant. But Obamacare ruled her ineligible for the transplant because of her age. Health and Human Services Secretary and one-person death panel Kathleen Sebelius denied her parents’ appeal for an exemption, proclaiming “Some live, some die” and consigning Sara to the latter. Only a federal judge’s intervention saved her life.
Obama promised that insurance premiums would go down under Obamacare. But requests submitted to the states by insurers for increases effective in 2014 indicate that individual market premiums will rise astronomically (88 percent on average in Ohio and 146 percent in California).
In open defiance of evidence that the Benghazi attack was a premeditated act of terror, the president falsely called the attack a spontaneous protest against a six-month-old anti-Islam video, and the videographer was arrested. Now, besides covering up these lies, he has promoted their main promulgator to National Security Director.
The IRS has been exposed as unfairly targeting conservative groups for scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status, shutting down their ability to raise funds and suppressing the opposition vote by stifling their effectiveness in the 2012 campaign.
Obama promised to strengthen privacy protections for American citizens. Yet under him, the National Security Agency’s PRISM program has been subjecting millions of citizens to warrantless, indiscriminate blanket searches of phone, email and computer activity.
The Department of Justice seized phone and email records from Fox and AP reporters, and Attorney General Eric Holder lied to Congress about the seizures.
Yet Obama’s supporters claim that none of these are scandals. Some, who eagerly pinned any scandal, real or imagined, on former President George W. Bush, indifferently shrug their shoulders now that one of their own is the accused. They call it partisan warfare – never mind that some Democrats condemn these actions as well.
So what is it, really, that defines a scandal? To hear the left, it is the perpetrator’s political bent. If it is a conservative, then it is a scandal. If a liberal, then no. Thus, PRISM is a scandal only when it is – incorrectly, it turns out – blamed on Bush, but not when it is expanded under Obama.
Scandal is defined by standards of right and wrong. It is not Obama’s person or politics that define the instances listed above as scandals, but their open violations of standards of morality and law.
But this raises a problem. Those standards have been eroding for decades and the liberal political philosophy that has advocated that erosion is also that which now claims that PRISM, the IRS, Benghazi, etc., are not scandals at all. Of course, they aren’t scandals – how can they be, when standards of right and wrong that expose them can be changed at will or simply disregarded?
The idea of blaming Bush for Obama’s scandals smacks of the childhood tactic of screaming that a sibling committed an act for which one faces discipline from an angry parent. But it is just as wrong to call attention to these scandals solely because Obama and company are behind them.
Regardless of who is responsible for what, we as a people must stand against evil. But efforts to confront evil are hindered by the ambivalence and partisanship in which we wrap it. All of us are prone to consider something wrong simply because of our prejudices, rather than the immutable moral standards upon which our society is founded.
Compounding this, those who dare to identify themselves as patriots and Tea Party conservatives are now subject to targeting by the government they criticize. From the very beginning of the Tea Party movement, we were branded as terrorists, Nazis, bigots, haters and more. Now that the IRS has codified this by including inquiries into personal prayer content and alleged criminal activity in their screening questions for Tea Party nonprofits, where does the government hostility stop?
We conservatives face an obstacle we could never have imagined in this great nation —
that of retribution from a government that is openly contemptuous of ethical or legal restraint and that is (witness Sebelius vs. little Sara) completely devoid of conscience, for daring to freely speak our minds. Even if what we say and write in the name of freedom is used against us, we must never stop appealing to the higher authority to whom even those in this government must answer, and conducting ourselves in keeping with His standards of truth and righteousness.
Thomas Berry, for the Children of Liberty, http://www.meetup.com/The-children-of-liberty/.