Earlier this month, in a commencement address at Ohio State University, President Obama called on graduates to reject the voices of those who tell them to be wary of government.
“Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems,” the president said. “Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.”
It was naive advice. Certainly our government isn’t poised to strip us of our liberties at every turn. But neither is it always fully truthful and honest. We would be fools to ignore the advice of our founding fathers, who built the most democratic government they could conceive of, yet still warned that we must always be vigilant to keep it in check.
The revelations of the last few days have given us still more reason to remain vigilant about the abuse of power.
First came last Wednesday’s congressional hearing on the terrorist attack on the Benghazi consulate, resulting in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. It is now perfectly clear our government misled us about what happened and why.
Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at first claimed the attack was fueled by outrage over a crude video seen as insulting to the prophet Muhammad. Federal authorities quickly arrested the filmmaker, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who remains behind bars.
The statement about the video is no longer operative, as they used to say at the Nixon White House when a lie was exposed. The full truth about Benghazi has yet to be told.
Then came Friday’s bombshell admission by the Internal Revenue Service that it had targeted tea party groups and other organizations perceived as conservative during the run-up to the 2012 election.