Imagine a football game where the referee decided to stop whistling penalties. Imagine a school where administrators imposed different standards of conduct on different students. Imagine hiring a babysitter who disregarded every household rule, and created brand new ones as he saw fit.
In each case, your reaction would be somewhere in between annoyance and infuriation, and rightfully so. We’re Americans, and one of our core beliefs is that rules are not made to be broken — and that we don’t get to pick and choose which laws to follow and which to disregard.
Now, pretend for a minute that the highest law enforcement officer in the country approached his job with the same reckless disregard for fair play that our hypothetical referee or school principal or babysitter approached theirs. Envision a country where the person we are all supposed to look toward as an example of putting principle above politics was doing just the opposite. Picture a nation where the “top cop” either follows or flouts our laws based upon political expediency.
The bad news? We’re already living there, thanks to Attorney General Eric Holder.
We should’ve known the country would be in for a rough ride with Holder at the helm of the Justice Department. Even before he was attorney general, he argued in front of the Supreme Court that one of our most cherished rights — the right to keep and bear arms granted in the Second Amendment — did not apply to individual Americans, only to organized militias.
Tragically, his trepidation over possessing firearms seems to stop at the border, as his Justice Department signed off on arming drug cartels as part of the botched Fast and Furious scheme.
Holder contorted the Second Amendment to fit with his political views on gun possession, while turning a blind eye to the dangers of arming foreign criminals.
Making matters worse, he’s now defying congressional investigators’ demands for documents and information related to Fast and Furious, something for which I believe he should be held in contempt.
But even more disturbing is the fact that the Fast and Furious scandal is just the tip of the iceberg of a disturbing pattern for Holder.
Several states, following the example set in Arizona by Gov. Jan Brewer, have passed tough new laws aimed at curbing illegal immigration in light of the federal government’s failure to do so. One would hope that the attorney general would defend a state’s prerogative to police its borders and its citizenry. At a minimum, we would expect the attorney general to stay out of the way. But Holder did the opposite — he sued not only Arizona, but several other states, to block their implementation of these laws, which he disagrees with politically. And in this case, he’s not only flouting the enforcement of our nation’s immigration policies, but the Tenth Amendment as well.
Most recently, Holder has stood fervently on the side of voter fraud as his Justice Department sued South Carolina and Texas over having the audacity to pass some commonsense legislation requiring voters to show picture IDs when they vote.
We have to have picture IDs for virtually everything these days, which I don’t think is a bad thing. In this day and age, technology allows virtually any document to be forged or altered. What could be more pragmatic than requiring a picture ID for voting?
Holder has been very clear that he doesn’t like these laws, publicly railing against them with straw-man arguments and inflammatory language that has little to do with law and a lot to do with politics. He doesn’t like the rules, so he contorts them for political gain. In the process, he’s sent a message that protecting voter fraud is more important than protecting election integrity.
Regardless of your political stripes, we can all agree that the attorney general should always be aligned with the rule of law. From beat cop to “top cop,” no one in law enforcement gets to change the rules as they go along because they don’t like the outcome.
Being on the side of the law is being on the side of the American people. When it comes to Eric Holder, the question is, “Whose side is he on?”
Dan Benishek, a Republican member of Congress, represents Michigan’s First Congressional District.