Tired of the ‘Rank and File’

We hear this a lot: “The rank and file are fine. It’s the leadership that’s bad.” That’d be nice if it were true. But it’s not.

If there is one thing that progressive Left governance has accomplished in the last two Democrat administrations, it’s been their complete (and sadly, likely irreversible) destruction of formerly non-partisan governmental organizations. The FBI, DoJ, IRS, and CIA used to comprise the bedrock foundation of a just and equitable American society, ensuring an unbiased legal system, providing national security and pursuing America’s best interests around the world.

Regrettably, that is no longer the case. These formerly neutral national institutions are now blatantly and unapologetically nothing more than extensions of the Democrat Party. With their actions predictably covered and excused by the mainstream liberal media, these establishments have taken to proactively opposing and undercutting all manner of conservative politicians and initiatives.

The examples are sweeping and extensive, from all corners of the federal infrastructure once thought to be independent and fair. Here are just a few:


As Director of the Exempt Organizations Unit at the IRS, Lois Lerner was in charge of processing applications for organizations seeking tax-exempt status. She was accused of deliberately delaying or rejecting the applications of several conservative applicants, often based merely on their conservative-sounding name or their affiliation with the Tea Party. An uproar ensued and Lerner eventually resigned. However, a follow-up investigation by the Obama-era DoJ and FBI into the matter found “poor judgement” but no basis for a criminal investigation. Of course.


Appointed Director of the FBI by President Obama in 2013, James Comey is perhaps the quintessential example of a Washington D.C. bureau chief turned political hack. His decision to not pursue Hillary Clinton’s flagrant illegal mishandling of her unauthorized off-premises e-mail server and classified documents during the 2016 Presidential campaign stands as an unarguable example of unethical politically driven behavior of the worst kind. Then, shortly thereafter, his arbitrary and unjustified investigation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn cemented the FBI’s new role as the Democrat attack arm, whose main goal these days, apparently, is to harass and eradicate threats to Democrat Party rule. Unjustified armed searches of high-profile Republicans and their residences is now commonplace.


While Obama Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch were guilty of a multitude of irresponsible, unjustified acts, the DoJ is in entirely new partisan territory under Merrick Garland. From branding regular American parents as “domestic terrorists” for questioning their local school boards (as if the DoJ should be micromanaging local town issues!) to turning a  blind eye to life-threatening protests outside the homes of conservative Supreme Court justices to signing off on totally capricious search warrants, nakedly aimed at neutralizing high-profile Democratic political opponents, the DoJ under Garland has gone from being (in Holder’s words) “Obama’s wingman” to flying the lead plane in the attack squadron and picking the targets. With its two-tiered justice system -- one for well-connected Democrats and another, harsher one for anyone with Republican leanings -- the current DoJ has absolutely shattered the once inviolate American principal of Equal Justice Under Law.

There are many other examples of Washington institutions that have abandoned any sense of impartiality and even-handedness. The CIA, the EPA, even the Joint Chiefs of Staff all now put political considerations and wokeness ahead of rational, equitable service to the American people.

There is no doubt that this is damaging to our society and the American citizenry is badly served by such behavior. But through all of this, one common theme emerges repeatedly: “The leadership is now inexcusably politicized, but we shouldn’t hold their bad actions against the rank and file, the vast majority of whom are loyal, honorable servants of the American people.”

Really? The rank and file are not to blame? They’re just “following orders?” That line of reasoning hasn’t served supposedly civilized societies particularly well in the past. When an action in current-day America is unethical, illegal, unconstitutional, or even immoral, where is the line that separates “Just following orders” from “No, I will not be a party to this”?

There is such a thing as personal responsibility and accountability. Doing what is legally, morally, and ethically correct is often difficult, but it is an individual’s responsibility, even if doing so comes at great personal cost. When a superior orders his team to carry out actions that are undeniably corrupt and improper, the onus then shifts to the subordinate.

Often, the phrase “We’re criticizing the organization’s leaders, not the rank and file” is used merely as a rhetorical device to “authorize” the speaker to issue criticism without being accused of painting with too broad a brush, denigrating the whole operation.

However, the IRS, FBI, DoJ, and CIA are highly selective, specialized enterprises, demanding the very highest professional qualifications and the most stringent individual principles. Every employee is bound to a code of ethics and a sworn duty to respect and uphold every aspect of American law. The rank and file do not have a “Get out of jail free” card when their superiors flout the law in deference to factional political considerations. On the contrary, when the Comeys, Lerners, and Garlands of the world act with such contemptible disregard for the rule of law because of their misplaced political leanings, it is the responsibility of the rank and file to say, “No! This does not stand. It stops here and now.”  These rank-and-file employees are purportedly the most intelligent, honest, and skilled people in the world at what they do.

They need to act like it. Or else, everyone will see the obvious: This is all their fault.

Image: Pexels

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