Apathy: Destroyer of Liberty

Our founders were wise beyond measure. They gave us a Republic organized upon the lines of personal freedom with written limits on the powers of government. This gift of liberty came with only one real caveat; it works only as long as we we’re engaged in the affairs of government. If anything would kill it and reduce us to serfdom, it was apathy and lack of moral character.

Historically, most people live under tyranny in one form or another. We’ve done fairly well, surviving 239 years with only a couple of nasty bumps. Before we indulge in congratulations we should pause and reflect that the average life-span of a Republic is about 200 years, after which, self-indulgent decline seems to rot societal structure from within. When that happens, apathy towards those who rule or aspire to rule is widespread with disaster not far away. Self-government is hard, requiring perseverance and dedication to finding the truth. Most importantly, it requires citizens to hold those in power accountable.

Over the last seven years, Americans have endured a prolonged state of war, economic dislocation, loss of international prestige and trust of our allies with contempt from our enemies. We have choices to make and we will make them in the next year. We will live with that choice for at least four years afterwards, assuming the Republic survives.

I remember the Watergate hearings in the 1970’s and how the public was riveted to televised hearings regarding the malfeasance of the Nixon regime, ultimately caught in a cover-up to obstruct justice. Democrats led the charge but Republicans were equally outraged, ultimately voting to hold a Republican president accountable.

Since 2012, one scandal after another has surfaced with federal employees abusing their authority, violating the rights of citizens and obstructing the investigations initiated by congressional oversight committees. I never thought I’d witness federal officials refusing to provide documents under subpoena to Congress let alone actually destroying them after an official subpoena was issued. Yet, just that has repeatedly occurred, as federal officials exercise their 5th Amendment rights to refuse to testify before congress and then deliberately destroy potential evidence, with seeming impunity. It happened with the IRS, it happened again with the State Department regarding the Benghazi hearings that attempted to assign responsibility for the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans in Tripoli in 2012.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, now presidential candidate, danced through the recent hearings with accolades from the national press corps for sidestepping her personal responsibility, any responsibility really, for the death and destruction inflicted upon American national interests.

The chaos in Libya occurred on Clinton’s watch; the Libya policy that overthrew the Libyan dictator was hers and she spared no effort in accepting its initial apparent success. Then she walked away, ignoring the chaos that ensued.

Remember the 2008 presidential campaign of a phone call at 3:00 am and “who was going to answer the phone?” Clinton berated Obama as being unqualified to deal with those “crisis in the night calls.” As it turns out, nobody answered the phone, especially Clinton.

Prior to that deadly September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the consulate in Benghazi, the ambassador made over 600 requests to State Department HQs in Washington for additional security assistance. He was turned down even with multiple attacks on the consulate and the diplomatic facilities of other countries in the months preceding September 11th. After the overthrow of the Libyan government, the record reveals virtual total silence from Clinton.

After the attacks killed the ambassador and three other Americans, “the lie” became official government policy, the lie that said a video instigated the attack, not terrorists. Any official challenging “the lie” experienced career-ending reprisal, as did the Libya Deputy Chief of Station, Gregory Hicks, demoted by Clinton for truthfully testifying to Congress about the events of that night in Benghazi.

That lie was personally spread by Clinton, directly to the parents of former Navy SEAL Ty Woods and communications technician Sean Smith as their caskets were off-loaded from military aircraft to waiting hearses. “The Lie” was spread further by Administration hacks for weeks, though Clinton knew it was a lie from the day of the attacks. She said so in e-mails and phone calls to her daughter, to the Libyan President and to the Egyptian Foreign Minister in the first 24 hours after the attack.

The question for Americans is what is the character of a politician that could look a grieving parent in the eye and lie to them as their son’s casket is being carried home? It’s the mark of the most venal of politicians that engages in deliberate deception for political purposes. If we don’t hold Clinton accountable, the shame is as much ours as any she should bear.                           

Written by Al Fonzi
5th District Chairman, Republican Party, SLO County
Past President, SLO County Lincoln Club

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