Letter: A Disheartening Time, Indeed
To the Editor:
The headline to the lead story in the May 19 Sunday Valley News was “Obama’s Lousy Week.” How about “America’s Lousy Week”?
We first heard that government officials had made up some cockamamie story about the fatal Libyan attack on Sept. 11, 2012, because what they were told had not been verified and they were still checking into it. So why not just make up something to mollify the American public and deny the truth by labeling it as political maneuvering?
Then we heard that the Internal Revenue Service had targeted conservative and religious groups and their donors for three years. Applications for tax-exempt status for these 501(c)4s were delayed. Confidential documents were leaked, conservative groups and their donors were audited, threatened and harassed by the IRS and the FBI. Enemies’ lists and confidential information were posted on websites. Their only crime was disagreeing with the way the government does business. And all this was because a few agents in Ohio were overburdened and lost track of what they were supposed to be doing. Anyone higher up denies knowing anything. Communication and oversight must be very bad.
And then we heard the Justice Department, not to be left out, had trampled the First Amendment by secretly obtaining phone records of the Associated Press. Justice Department officials did not follow written procedures. It was after all a matter of “national security.” The Associated Press had cooperated in delaying the story about a derailed plot. However, the laws had been broken and the Constitution be damned.
All this in one week. Yes, it was a very disheartening time for the United States and all Americans. Our leaders were apparently not leading. Our government was not governing. The federal government resembled something if not Kafkaesque at least more like Chicago. “Hope and Change” became “Obfuscate and Deceive.”