Respect for the rule of law

I watched the president talk to the journalists this morning. He spoke a lot about our ‘respect for the rule of law.’ As an admitted Democrat, I must say I find him a formidable candidate. His thoughtful and articulate mastery of substance contrast irresistibly with Republicans’ shrill appeals to emotion. But the president has a dangerous problem.

Respect for the rule of law has diminished into simply one of many competing challenges our leaders face. They’ve instituted a method of violating the Constitution in their political interest until, years later, a court somewhere forces them back into line. I suppose there have been historical instances where even I might have taken their side in a matter. But now, it’s become clear respect for the rule of law is simply a political slogan and an inconvenience. Our officials themselves don’t have it. We all know they don’t.

This is deeply destructive. I find it hard to explain to my sons why it’s important simply to obey the law. The law, to them, has to be justified by their perceived self interest – or ignored. This is too much of a good thing. Abandonment of the law really will cost us our liberty. Worn out as the old idol may be, we could use a few strong people who still worship it.

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