Holding The Line: Law & Order
Thursday, January 25, 2018
The Institution Is Essential
Institutions matter. They are the anchors to society, the social contract, and government itself.
When it is your responsibility to run government for a country, what is the endgame to destroying its key institutions? There is no long-term gain. The erosion of law and order in a free republic does not improve that society. It risks causing instability, and widening fissures.
It's clear that there is no viable end to the Republican party's game.
Recent "strategy" has involved spreading misinformation about: 1) text messages lost at the FBI which were actually lost in multiple federal agencies due to a major switch between iOS and Android devices, and 2) a classified derivative memo drafted by Congressman Nunes of his opinions on some Russia investigation matters without having read the full source material. The House Intelligence Committee voted against releasing the source intelligence to other members of Congress, who could then analyze the original source intel themselves. The Trump administration's own Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a memo to Congress on Wednesday advising that any release of such a memo "would be extraordinarily reckless."
Republican Congressmen, the president, and their media champions have been alleging lies and flat-out conspiracies around these two subjects in the past week. With amplifying help from Russian bots on social media (#ReleaseTheMemo).
Deliberately undermining law enforcement institutions and the national security community itself... these are not ways to build, lead, and evolve.
Party actions lose supporters by the day. It's not sustainable long term. Case in point: the law enforcement community is historically right-leaning. How will they continue to support a party that doesn't support them?
This is a party chasing blindly after "the base" - which let's all be real - means "people for whom sexual assault and racism is not a deal-breaker."
When the base is a minority of voters, why in the world do they keep doing things that guarantee they will lose more support?
On Wednesday, Howard Fineman offered, "In a game of brute survival, the durability of institutions doesn't matter to the people in the ballgame, and that's where we're at," on MTP Daily.
When the institutions don't matter to those charged with maintaining them, we have a problem. Especially if those meant to protect those institutions are only concerned with their own personal survival. The institutions are there for the survival of the citizens who elected them. That's supposed to be the job. Serving the constituents.
Here's another angle:. "I have a bit of a rhetorical question here... Do you care about good government? Because if you care about good government, and you think the FBI did something wrong [re: the Nunes memo hypothesis]... Look the FBI is awesome. They're terrific. But they're not perfect. So if you think they did something wrong, and you care about good government, you're going to give it to the FBI so they can look at it and fix whatever process broke. If you don't want the FBI to fix it, you can give it to the Department of Justice Inspector General....[lists one additional option]. So if you care about good government, there's a bunch of avenues you can walk down in order to try and fix whatever you think went wrong. If you care about politics, then you do what the folks on the House Intelligence Committee appear to be doing: you politicize it." - 1/24, Chuck Rosenberg, Former US Attorney for Eastern District of Virginia, Former Senior Justice Department Official, Former FBI Chief of Staff, on MSNBC.
He adds, "Yeah it's dangerous. It's also very very sad. It's hard to imagine our political leadership undermining the FBI. We ask them to do really hard things. Let's try and support them when they do it."
Undermining our institutions is a path that erodes the rule of law, and civil society itself.
What do you have when you have destroyed law and order itself? How then does your society maintain stability, grow, evolve, and even thrive?
What then do you anchor to?
What Can You Do?
Counterfear.com is about providing practical things anyone can do - in this case when elected federal officials are actively eroding our established institutions.
- We can study what happens when institutions dissolve in civil society.
- We can find and follow reputable non partisan information sources.
- We can know facts and educate others.
- We can not spread conspiracy theories.
- We can think critically.
- We can fight propaganda and misinformation, and speak up when we see it.
- We can learn about the institutions in our country and their history.
- We can get educated about what law enforcement does at the federal, state, and local levels.
- We can learn about national security and related intelligence processes. Many of these are new since 9/11 and have been discussed widely in the public sector.
- We can work with law enforcement to make improvements where they are needed. Which they often are. Sometimes a lot (i.e., see Black Lives Matter - #BLM, and more).
- We can learn about and get involved with community policing initiatives to better understand law enforcement, and to help them better understand the community.
- We can attend town hall meetings and otherwise bring up these issues with our elected officials at the local, state, and federal level. Erosion of an institution such as the FBI will have cascading effects.
- We can push our state and local institutions and governments to support the FBI, the national security apparatus, and the Intelligence Community (IC).
- We can elect people to office who actually understand what "law and order" means and who will protect the rule of law. Crikey, we can run for office ourselves. Should we be so inclined.
- We can make sure our state and local institutions are strong, functioning, and well-funded.
- We can advocate for the institutions we want and need.
Holler if you need ideas or support.
What kind of work resonates for you, in this time? What would you like to dig into? Check out private coaching at inclusive pricing rates. We will absolutely find a way forward. It's time for what's next.
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