Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Let's Talk Tyranny

 I was just thinking about tyranny. Tyranny is one of those words you just don’t hear very often anymore. Lately, however, there have been a few political pundits throwing that word around because of the number of scandals besieging the White House.

I guess the word has become a little old fashioned or out of date, kind of like the word treason. We don’t accuse people of treason anymore. We charge them with “divulging confidential material harmful to the national security” or some such phrase thought up by lawyers. It’s a shame because, old fashioned or not, they both very accurately describe actions or conditions of extreme importance and consequence.

Tyranny is defined by as the “arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority”. -Something we have been seeing from our government with increasing frequency. In all fairness, I think you can point to previous administrations and find isolated examples of tyrannical behavior. But the current administration apparently does not feel as restrained as previous ones and we have seen far more examples of tyrannical behavior from various governmental departments and agencies than ever before.And they are becoming increasingly frequent and blatant.

I would suggest that you could go as far back as the very beginning of the present administrations term. We had an incident of clear voter intimidation by the New Black Panther Party but the Attorney General declined to prosecute because of the racial aspects of the case. Prosecuting Blacks for voter intimidation did not fit the administrations agenda. If they had been white supremacists you can bet they’d have been tried and convicted and that, my friends, is a form of tyranny. The government selected what laws to enforce or not enforce based soley on their political ideology. –And in abandonment of their sworn duty under the Constitution to enforce the law equally and impartially.

Other examples of tyrannical behavior have come from the EPA (creating and enforcing arbitrary regulations affecting everything from housing construction to farming), The TSA (strip searching an 80+ year old lady in a wheel chair), and even the Health and Welfare Administration (forcing families to buy school cafeteria food because the parents weren’t packing healthy enough lunches). And all of that is without even mentioning the IRS, Benghazi or “Obamacare” debacles; the Presidents' “Enemies List” or the National “No Fly List”. You don’t even know if you’re on that list until they say “too bad -no fly today". And even if it’s a mistake, as happens a lot when the government gets involved, it’s almost impossible to challenge it or have your name removed. Just ask the late Senator Ted Kennedy who turned up on the list without warning. He was stopped 5 times at airports. Even with all his political clout it took 3 weeks to get his name removed from the list!

I think one reason the word tyranny has gotten a little old fashioned is because we, as Americans, just don’t worry all that much about tyranny. In some countries a government behaving the way that ours has been lately would be facing armed insurrection. But in our country we know that within the next 4 years we’ll have a chance to change Administrations -so rebellion is not considered necessary (I am purposely ignoring the fringe elements that would love to see rebellion, chaos and anarchy in the streets regardless of what party is in power).

Having said all this and having thought this through, I still think we should apply the word tyranny when we see it. You do not have to be a tyrant to do something tyrannical –but if you do and you get away with it, you’re very likely to keep doing tyrannical things until you get stopped.

It’s exactly the same behavior you can expect from a bully. And, like a bully, the only way to stop it is to challenge it on the spot, every time.

We need to stop being so tolerant and hoping it’ll go away in the next election. We should challenge tyrannical behavior every time we see it –and that starts with calling it what it is, tyranny (-old fashioned term or not).

I am not saying we should turn to armed rebellion. All that is needed is for enough of us to speak up and and force our elected representatives to act. -And that much, my friends, is absolutely necessary, or someday we will wind up with a real live tryanny headed by a real live tyrannt.

Live Long and Prosper...

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