The most radical innovation introduced by our Founding Fathers was the idea that all men are indeed created equal.
These writers of our nation’s founding documents had just fought to free themselves from the tyrannical rule of King George’s monarchy, and they rejected the idea that leaders of government are endowed with the right to be exempt from the laws they created and enforced.
Instead, as exemplified by George Washington, leaders were expected to be subject to those laws and servants to those they led.
The steps backward we have seen in recent years are incompatible with the values of the Founders who promoted idea of inalienable rights, and the backlash among voters has been boldly shown in this presidential election. There is a growing resentment of the “political class,” and an increased distrust — and even fear — of government.
Unfortunately, there appears to be ample justification for this feeling. On October 11, Chapman University in Orange, California released a survey of 1,511 American adults and it revealed that 60.6% of respondents are either “afraid or very afraid” of corrupt government officials. Fear of corruption in government far outpaced fears of terrorism, financial insecurity, and the illness or death of a loved one.
As we reach the end of a long and contentious presidential election season, faith in government is approaching an all-time low. Many Americans now see government not as the keepers of justice and peace, not as servants of the people, but as a corrupt entity.
The most recent example of blatant corruption, cronyism, and favoritism in government is the failure of the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to indict Hillary Clinton over her improper handling of confidential and top secret information. Long held to be one of the most impartial, even anti-political, law enforcement agencies in the world, individual agents within the FBI are now speaking out against Director James Comey’s declaration that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges to the former Secretary of State.
“It is safe to say the vast majority felt she should be prosecuted,” a high ranking FBI official told Fox News, saying the decision not to recommend charges “made no sense to us.”
Corruption isn’t escaping voters either, as a 2015 Gallup poll found 75% of respondents believe corruption is widespread in the government and in government regulation of business.
Everyday Americans have seen the political elite be handed immunity from indiscretions that would have secured prosecution, jail time, or worse for the less powerful and connected.
According to the Heritage Foundation, this type of corruption is also affecting the United States’ standing in the world and our economic freedom rankings among developed nations. Coming in at #11 overall behind such countries as Chile, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Estonia, the U.S. achieved a paltry “freedom from corruption” score of merely 74, ranking 20th worldwide.
The best way to address this imbalance is by demanding accountability not only from our elected officials, but also from the vast network of bureaucrats and civil servants who create and enforce regulations. Accountability starts at the ballot box. Voters are mad at our corruptible government and elites in Washington, D.C., but it can’t end there. From the Oval Office to City Hall, the message must be loud and clear: the rule of law and its equal application must be our number one priority, regardless of income, political office, or zip code.