I sat dumbfounded as I watched U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton defend his prosecution of Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean in a recent interview with CNN's Lou Dobbs. [Transcript, July 17, 2007] To just about anyone who knows anything about this case, the prosecution and subsequent imprisonment of these two agents (who were simply attempting to enforce our nation's immigration and drug laws) is an unfathomable miscarriage of justice. Yet, Sutton has repeatedly (with great smugness and pride, I might add) done everything but brag about putting these two officers in prison.
As I watched Lou Dobbs interview Johnny Sutton, the only word that came close to describing Sutton's despicable attitude was blatant and unadulterated arrogance.
But then, arrogance seems to be the common attitude of many, if not most, who work in and for this Administration. [See Lou Dobbs: Time to free Ramos and Compean - CNN.com, July 18, 2007]
After all, underlings often take their cues for both their actions and attitudes from their president and commander-in-chief, do they not? What, then, can we expect from a President who believes himself to be above the laws and Constitution of our country? What can we expect from a Vice President who not only challenges the constraints of constitutional government, but who strains the limits of imagination when he (with a straight face, no less) dares to proclaim that he is exempt from congressional scrutiny, because he is not part of the executive branch of government?
However, we must admit that this White House does not have a monopoly on arrogance. It has spread like a cancer throughout the federal government and has even infected many in state and local government.
If you doubt that, just ask any plumber, electrician, or general contractor what it's like to deal with their local code enforcement, planning and zoning, or licensing and permitting bureaucrats. Ask any merchant who sells firearms what it's like dealing with the BATFE. Ask any sportsman what it's like dealing with certain wildlife officials. Dealing with these government bureaucrats is not only costly, but it's also a giant pain in the neck (not to mention other places of the anatomy). More than that, the abusive attitudes that are commonly endured at the hands and tongues of these little Napoleons can, at times, be downright insulting and even degrading.
As a Christian and minister of the Gospel, it grieves me to see our country's government filled with proud, deceitful, and arrogant men. As a freedom-loving citizen, it worries me, because arrogant men are dangerous.
Arrogance breeds lust for power and fear of freedom; arrogance sees itself above accountability and responsibility; arrogance has no vision for anything beyond its own desires; and arrogance has no conscience regarding its own evildoings.
Arrogant men can justify anything, no matter how ugly or horrific. When their decisions result in the mutilations and deaths of innocent people, they casually and callously call it "collateral damage." And when it comes to protecting their own selfish (and usually secret) agendas, they are like the kings of antiquity who ordered their archers to loose their arrows into the midst of the battlefield and kill everyone—even those in their own armies.
Such was the fate of Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. Both the Senate and House of Representatives will be holding hearings into the prosecution of Ramos and Compean. The Senate Judiciary Committee conducted an initial hearing this week. As a result of that hearing, committee members Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) have sent President Bush a letter urging him to issue a commutation of the agents' prison sentences. According to the findings of the Senate committee, Sutton was guilty of "prosecutorial overreach."
The House of Representatives will conduct hearings next week, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) has already made it clear that he wants the White House to account for the motivations behind the Justice Department giving blanket immunity to an admitted Mexican drug smuggler and what appears to be the exertion of undue influence by the Mexican government upon the U.S. prosecution of Ramos and Compean.
Rohrabacher said, "I think it has a lot to do with an attitude in this administration that refuses to admit any mistakes and protects its own clique but nobody else."
Rohrabacher also said his committee
"will examine alleged involvement of the Mexican government in the decision to prosecute the agents and others, including Texas Deputy Sheriff Gilmer Hernandez. Sutton's Western District of Texas office also prosecuted Hernandez, who was convicted of violating the civil rights of two illegal aliens injured from shell fragments that struck them as the officer shot at the tires of a van in which they escaped from a routine traffic stop. The van driver had tried to run over Hernandez."[Feinstein to Bush: Free Ramos, Compean, By Art Moore, July 17, 2007 WorldNetDaily.com]
One does not have to be a prophet to predict that there will be no commutation or pardon for Ramos and Compean; neither will this White House even acknowledge the Senate committee's request. And any request from the House of Representatives will receive similar treatment.
Such is the style of arrogant men.
Sooner or later, it will have to be the American people themselves that decide to put a stop to this out-of-control government arrogance. Perhaps the sentiments of the late Lyn Nofziger will be helpful at this point.
You will recall that Mr. Nofziger served as press secretary in Ronald Reagan's administration as Governor of California and as a White House advisor during the Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan presidencies. Shortly before he passed away, he composed a short treatise entitled "These Things I Believe." Here it is:
"That government should butt out. That freedom is our most precious commodity and if we are not eternally vigilant, government will take it all away. That individual freedom demands individual responsibility. That government is not a necessary good but an unavoidable evil. That the executive branch has grown too strong, the judicial branch too arrogant and the legislative branch too stupid. That political parties have become close to meaningless. That government should work to insure the rights of the individual, not plot to take them away. That government should provide for the national defense and work to insure domestic tranquility. That foreign trade should be fair rather than free. That America should be wary of foreign entanglements. That the tree of liberty needs to be watered from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. That guns do more than protect us from criminals; more importantly, they protect us from the ongoing threat of government. That states are the bulwark of our freedom. That states should have the right to secede from the Union. That once a year we should hang someone in government as an example to his fellows."
I am confident that Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean would not only agree with Mr. Nofziger, but they would also know exactly where to begin.