A question of loyalty

We all took an oath – everyone who served in the United States Armed Forces and those who served our nation as civilians.  The words vary slightly.  We who bore arms swore to give our lives if necessary to defend the Constitution of the United States of America.

That oath did not and does not obligate us to defend a particular president, a Cabinet member, a favorite bureaucracy, or a category of overpaid minions.  And, most important to remember today is that nobody ever swore allegiance to a political party or partisan interests that could ensure placement on an "A list" of the Washington, D.C. self-proclaimed ruling elite and all-round cool people.

This is not to say that everyone who took the oath had no personal opinions about politics, religion, or morality.  Everyone has opinions.  Our populace doesn't resemble the population of some dystopian novel.  This is where the oath comes in. 

During the more than twenty years I had the privilege of serving in the United States Navy, I worked on the personal staffs of Navy admirals and Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force general officers.  It was confidential service, because, as a speechwriter, I offered one-on-one advice about how best to craft their public remarks to most effectively communicate their ideas.

It was an intensely personal process, one that required me to understand their natural abilities, speech patterns and rhythms, and even senses of humor.  I listened a lot.  Most often, we worked confidentially, just the two of us.  Many wanted to know, but I could not reveal what my "client" was thinking.

Once we established a confidential working relationship, I was impressed with how open these high-ranking officers would be with me, freed from the eyes and ears of aides and staff officers with their own agendas.  But here's my point: in all the years of work with these highly intelligent, accomplished, disciplined, goal-oriented patriots, I cannot tell you what any of their personal positions on politics was.  Not one.  Some even made it a point not to vote.  They took their oath to serve nothing but the Constitution that seriously.  Nothing would get between their sacred honor and their sworn obligations. 

As I consider this reluctance, resistance, discipline – call it what you will – not to influence with their personal political beliefs, it makes the reports about current FBI and DoJ leadership even more shameful.  They, apparently, have seen a clear and present danger in a man whose only crime is winning office apart from the existing, self-serving political structure.

I speak from a virtual storehouse of ignorance about the ambitions, character, and motives of those making headlines today in Washington, D.C., especially the leadership of the FBI and DoJ.  I do not doubt that they're all pretty smart and would have no problem reassuring us of that.  But smart isn't all that's required of them.  There's much more, and it is fundamental to moral individuals.  For those trusted with upholding the rule of law – the structural foundation of our democratic republic – it's character and devotion and morality that counts.  That's what's required.  They have apparently failed, miserably and willingly. 

The opinionated, conspiratorial emails and texts sent and stored on government computer systems are a disgrace, and they're evidence that has led to discovery of things much worse.

Think about it: prisons are full of people who thought they'd never get caught.  The leadership at the FBI and DoJ ought to know that.  The population of felons may soon grow to include those who have led, by all accounts and emerging evidence, a mutinous conspiracy to destroy the very Constitution they've sworn to protect.