It is getting harder and harder for Americans to trust our government. The rapidly growing mistrust crosses party boundaries, jumps political divides, spans the generations. We know that whatever the news is coming out of Washington, it most likely is bad.
This is disturbing for so many reasons. Americans have to trust those we elect to lead us, to be confident that they are working together for the good of all of us.
While of course we should be able to trust and believe all our elected and appointed officials, there are some positions that simply demand a greater level of trust. The president comes to mind, as do the members of Congress, especially the leaders on both sides of the aisle.
But we also need confidence in the Cabinet members, especially the secretaries of State and Defense and the attorney general.
Unfortunately, Attorney General Eric Holder has done little to earn that respect and confidence. We have to be sure that the Department of Justice is being run fairly and openly and for the benefit of all Americans. We no longer are sure that is the case with Holder’s department. It was bad enough the department was spying on reporters, but now we learn that it is spying on the rest of us, all in the name of “national security.”
Somehow, we don’t feel safer knowing that a record of our phone calls is being kept. Does the government really need to know that we are talking to Aunt Jane and Uncle Bob or our best friends?
Holder’s department says it is not listening in on our phone conversations, instead tracking calls to “suspicious” numbers. And just whose number is suspicious?
Then we learned that the National Security Agency has been checking the Internet usage of foreign nationals who use any of numerous American service providers, including Microsoft, Google and Apple.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama said the benefits outweigh “modest encroachments on privacy.” He said the programs “help us prevent terrorist attacks.”
Well, of course we all want to prevent such attacks. But is the massive spying on Americans and those who use American Internet services really the best use of our nation’s resources. More important, is it with the unnecessary and unwanted intrusion into our private lives?
The president tried to reassure us that “nobody is listening to your telephone calls,” adding, “They are not looking at people’s names and they are not looking as content. But by sifting through this so-called metadata they might identify potential leads of people who might engage in terrorism.”
So, if we regularly call our Muslim cousin in Saudi Arabia, does that make us “suspicious?”
James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, obviously believes that what the people don’t know can’t hurt the spy programs. He termed the leaking of the programs “reprehensible,” adding that it aids our nation’s enemies. That’s what such people do when they get caught doing something they shouldn’t.
Through everything from Benghazi to the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservation political action organizations to the latest news that we are being checked-up on, Attorney General Holder has dissembled, refusing to answer the legitimate questions of Republicans and Democrats in Congress with honesty and forthrightness. He has hedged and misdirected his answers.
By all accounts, Holder is a decent man, trying to do a good job. But we no longer can trust him in that position.
Eric Holder should no longer hold the trust of President Obama and he definitely no longer holds the trust of the American public.
He should do the honorable thing and resign — for the good of the country.
The (Bryan) Eagle