Truth, it is said, is the first casualty of politics. And government…and society…and, if seems, life in general. Even our religious leaders can’t seem to tell the truth. In the weeks leading up to the death of Pope John Paul II, spokesman for the Vatican misled Catholics about the graveness of his condition, giving optimistic reports about his declining health when, in fact, the end was near. We have become so accustomed to being lied to that we view any piece of information with skepticism, always looking for the motive behind what we are told.
There is no shortage of things to be outraged about these days depending on one’s philosophic, political or religious leanings. Daily eruptions stem from Iraq and abortion and the right to die and Social Security proposals and bad intelligence to name but a few. But sometimes it is the smaller things that really inflame one’s ire, the non-momentous incidents that we can all understand are stupid and just plain wrong. One of those was revealed in a government report the other day, triggering an instant rush of anger mainly because it concerned a sanctioned abuse that most of us thought had been put to rest once and for all, the independent counsel law – that woefully ill-advised piece of pure political legislation that never should have seen the light of day in the first place and was allowed to expire because of the avoidable amount of grief it caused, including the impeachment of a president
During his 10 years in Congress, Rep. Doc Hastings has earned a reputation as a low-key Republican loyalist who has fought to preserve funding for cleaning up the Hanford nuclear reservation and to protect agricultural interests in his sprawling central Washington district. But Hastings now finds himself in the middle of the political firestorm surrounding House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and allegations that the Texas Republican’s fundraising and travel activities have violated House ethics rules.
Critics of the USA Patriot Act want the kind of real debate they were denied when the sweeping anti-terrorism law was passed 45 days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says he’s willing to accommodate them, but he wants all the law’s expiring provisions to be renewed.