When serving as Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, appointed by President George W. Bush, unanimously confirmed by a Democrat-controlled Senate, I visited troubled lands – places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Colombia, Bolivia, Laos, earlier Guatemala, El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel. I held up the US system of Justice as imperfect but impartial. The raid on former President Trump’s home – and what it implies – changes that.
Our system of justice seems to be broken. Rather than fairly applying laws to all Americans, avoiding the perception of partisan application, working to assure public trust with a focus on equal treatment, due process, precedents, no political interference, we are slipping.
How are we slipping? For starters, even before discussing the FBI’s improvident raid on a former president’s home, we are blurring important lines. National leaders within the Democratic Party are more enamored of left-leaning activists, it seems than impartiality.
What does that mean? It means that a critical distinction, between politically affiliated leaders and traditional line agents, is being lost. Worse, line agents are being vilified as leaders skate.
Contrary to respect for rule of law and those who risk life for us, many Democrats continue to diminish, defund, and demoralize “line agents.” This is just wrong, as they serve with courage.
Members of Congress push anti-police legislation, while President Biden signs Executive Orders stripping federal agents of “nonlethal and lifesaving resources.” At the same time, violent crime and homicides spike, ambushes, attacks, shootings of police hit record levels.
Brave line agents are also diminished in other ways, made the “fall guy” for political leaders. From 2020 to now, left-wing activists push political violence, street riots, placing urban and suburban communities in fear, drive up gun sales (i.e., women and minorities), attack hundreds of pro-life pregnancy centers, stalk Supreme Court Justices and their families – all wrong.
All this stands in contrast to the past, and to a traditionally unified, non-political admiration for law enforcement, which historically produced high public trust and cooperation, along with global respect.
Ironically, as leading Democrats accuse line agents of “systemic racism” and lack of professionalism, cutting their budgets, damaging morale, recruiting, and retention, top political actors – including those in the Obama and Biden White Houses, Justice Departments, and FBIs turned political. This is the flipside of the coin, amounts to a double mistake.
The list of seemingly political acts is disturbing. As if returning to J. Edgar Hoover, the last decade is riddled with political acts by top law enforcement, near-zero accountability.
By way of example, Hillary Clinton bypassed any penalties, despite removal, concealment, loss, and mishandling of classified materials, an email scandal, server destruction, 2016 approval of a fictional narrative to damage candidate Donald Trump, fundraising for a personal foundation from foreign sources while Secretary of State, Benghazi’s calamity, prior oddities like “Travelgate,” Whitewater, oddly profitable cattle futures. In short, much was overlooked.
At the same time, high-level, overtly anti-Trump actors at the FBI and Justice pushed a “Russia Collusion” storyline, aided by Hill Democrats who pursued two hurried presidential impeachments, neither following regular order, constitutional precedent, or due process.
Now comes the cherry on top, a sudden, unnecessary, 30-agent, guns drawn raid on a former president, including his wife’s garment closet, after he reportedly offered open review of the relevant boxes of documents, later carted away at gunpoint in what seemed a bad movie.
Frankly, this is the kind of behavior one might expect in a “third world,” unstable, sectarian, crime-ridden country where Justice, law enforcement, and judiciary are loaded with politics, an arm of the ruling political party. That is political corruption, and one does not expect it here.
Where do we go from here? While truth seems hard to find, we must stay calm and seek it. While public trust is in freefall, country divided, many shocked, politicians fanning the fire, we must hope for public wisdom, hope scrutiny prevails, hope the truth emerges.
Most of all, while we live in an age of disappointments, default to passion over reason, history says we get through this – if we are resilient, keep our heads, value rule of law, believe in ourselves and Constitution. If visiting troubled lands today, I would acknowledge our faults, then champion our Constitution. It matters – but first here. The world is watching, we must do better.
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