When the government and its agents no longer respect the rule of lawthe Constitutionor believe that it applies to them, then the very contract on which this relationship is based becomes invalid.
This is what you might call a stealthy, creeping, silent, slow-motion coup d'e'tat.
This abuse of power has been going on for so long that it has become the norm, the Constitution be damned.
There are hundredsmake that thousandsof government bureaucrats who are getting away with murder (in many cases, literally) simply because the legislatures, courts and the citizenry can't be bothered to make them play by the rules of the Constitution.
Unless something changes in the way we deal with these ongoing, egregious abuses of power, the predators of the police state will continue to wreak havoc on our freedoms, our communities, and our lives.
It's the nature of the beast: power corrupts.
Worse, as 19th-century historian Lord Acton concluded, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Give any one person (or government agency) too much power and allow him or her or it to believe that they are entitled, untouchable and will not be held accountable for their actions, and those powers will eventually be abused.
We're seeing this dynamic play out every day in communities across America.
A cop shoots an unarmed citizen for no credible reason and gets away with it. A president employs executive orders to sidestep the Constitution and gets away with it. A government agency spies on its citizens' communications and gets away with it. An entertainment mogul sexually harasses actors and actresses and gets away with it. The U.S. military bombs civilian targets and gets away with it.
Abuse of powerand the ambition-fueled hypocrisy and deliberate disregard for misconduct that make those abuses possibleworks the same whether you're talking about sexual harassment, government corruption, or the rule of law.
If we continue down this road, there can be no surprise about what awaits us at the end.
After all, it is a tale that has been told time and again throughout history about how easy it is for freedom to fall and tyranny to rise, and it often begins with one small, seemingly inconsequential willingness on the part of the people to compromise their principles and undermine the rule of law in exchange for a dubious assurance of safety, prosperity and a life without care.
The American kleptocracy (a government ruled by thieves) has sucked the American people down a rabbit hole into a parallel universe in which the Constitution is meaningless, the government is all-powerful, and the citizenry is powerless to defend itself against government agents who steal, spy, lie, plunder, kill, abuse and generally inflict mayhem and sow madness on everyone and everything in their sphere.
This dissolution of that sacred covenant between the citizenry and the governmentestablishing "we the people" as the masters and the government as the servantdidn't happen overnight. It didn't happen because of one particular incident or one particular president. It is a process, one that began long ago and continues in the present day, aided and abetted by politicians who have mastered the polarizing art of how to "divide and conquer."
Unfortunately, there is no magic spell to transport us back to a place and time where "we the people" weren't merely fodder for a corporate gristmill, operated by government hired hands, whose priorities are money and power.