The Obama Administration’s assault on our Constitutional rights is much broader than the current hoohah on his fantastical approach to immigration policy. His usurpation of congressional powers may directly affect five to twenty million people, but revelations about the IRS and its prostitution of our personal data arguably affects all 330 million of us.
That the IRS has allegedly been sorting, sifting, filtering, and mining the private affairs of taxpayers for use by politicos should come as no surprise to informed Americans. One can readily picture the machinations of Tammany Hall and Boss Tweed, but those crass goings-on occurred over a hundred years ago. Things were supposed to have changed. Not more than fifty years ago, however, there was Nixon’s “Enemies List,” and many can recall outrage that names of people were given to the IRS for special scrutiny. Such small-time crookedness is now laughable. Comparatively speaking, Nixon’s abuse constituted a mere ethical skirmish when laid next what has been happening in what should be known as Obama’s Post-Ethical Age.
That this Administration's Internal Revenue Service launched a veritable Normandy Invasion mass targeting conservative groups was one shocker from a “transparent” regime. Now, we learn that same IRS—new names at the top, same snaky shenanagins—has been busily carting data troves of personal data up Pennsylvania Avenue to the partisan denizens of the Obama White House for what use one can only guess. But one has to observe: IRS employees are like bureaucratic bees everywhere: the follow the routines prescribed by the Head of the Hive.
Oh, Tricky Dicky, think what you and Spiro Agnew could have accomplished had the two of you had the nerve to follow the Daniel Burnham dictum: "Make no little plans!"
Certainly, the current, alleged goings-on could be a scene out of "Turnover" when Nelson Evers, an African-American whose ancestors wore chains, rails against Internal Revenue employees who readily violate the sanctity of the relationship between them and each American taxpayer. His frustration centers on the fact that while he and so many of the IRS employees' grandparents struggled for their freedom and all their rights under the Constitution, a number of them now conspire to steal some of those sacred rights from large numbers of their fellow citizens. Life must imitate art, indeed.
Since the ratification of the 16th Amendment to the US Constitution on February 3rd, 1913, Americans have expected to rely on the total privacy of information provided to the IRS in its collection of taxes on income, however derived. Over the past century, Americans have been encouraged to be fully honest regarding the sources of their income--be they gambling, illegal drug dealing, or whatever--and then, bear the tax burden imposed. Al Capone earned his only prison time because he did not.
These new revelations impose new burdens on all of us. One may no longer have the freedom to speak and associate—fundamental rights promised to be in a Bill of Rights if each of the original thirteen states would ratify the Constituion—though they have been guaranteed since their ratification on December 15, 1791, over two centuries ago. One may no longer believe in the integrity of the government to which we as Americans have entrusted our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor.
This Administration has much to answer for at the court of history, and the principal charge will be felony theft of some of our most basic rights as Americans. It is no wonder we are no longer the free-est country on the planet. We are not even in the Top Ten.
John P. Warren is a political commentator with over thirty years of governmental and corporate experience, and describes how ambition and power combine to steal a national election in his political thriller, “Turnover.”