The last five years are quickly becoming the plot to a movie that, just a few years ago, no one would have believed plausible.
We now have a government that targets folks both in taxation and private communications. One that “wags the dog” with the capture of one lone perpetrator of a Benghazi crime, but never admits the crime should have never occurred in the first place. And we have a leader, who until forced to do otherwise, sat by while whole portions of Iraq fell into enemy hands. This stuff has passed from the merely unbelievable to the outright bizarre.
In recent months, President Obama has used executive orders and federal bureaucracy to move on all manner of issues. Just this week, as Islamic terrorists were on the move in Iraq committing acts of vicious aggression and violence, the president was addressing the issue of expanding the protected waters of the Pacific Ocean. That came just after an executive order expanding protection against discrimination of federal contractors based on sexual orientation.
There is no sense arguing whether either of these policy moves is of merit. That’s not the point. The point is that this White House and now our entire federal bureaucracy seem focused on issues that meet an agenda, while ignoring matters of national and international importance. Indeed, an NBC poll released this past week indicates that Americans have lost faith in President Obama’s administration and its ability to accomplish anything of note in its remaining years in office.
Now comes the decision by another offshoot of our federal bureaucracy focusing on the compelling issue of the name of a football team, or at least certain trademarks associated with it. Again, the issue is really not whether the name Redskins might be offensive to Native Americans. I’m sure that’s entirely possible. Instead, it is a matter of priority, allocation of resources and overreach by government.
So now, allegedly, an entire football operation, responsible for many jobs and sources of income, should move to abandon its name, change its logo and basically rebrand itself. This as the nation still tries to pull itself out of a never-ending “economic recovery.” And presumably this edict would not stop with Washington Redskins, but ultimately would apply to the Atlanta Braves, Florida State Seminoles and who knows what other sports’ teams.
Yes, this is, in a way, an “impartial” decision that arises from the labyrinth of semi-judicial federal administrative law-like entities that live in federal agencies and departments. But do not be fooled into believing that agendas and obsessions can’t be found within such entities as well.
And more to the point, we have just too many damn “entities” focused on too many issues at too many levels of federal government. In recent years, they have seemingly risen as a full orchestra devoted to teaching all of us a lesson — in obtaining health care, in how we create and use energy, in what foods we can eat, even in what tax-exempt organizations we can support.
So while the Iraq that our soldiers gave their lives to free and preserve was burning, our government focused on creatures of the ocean and finding backdoor ways to force football and baseball teams to change their names.
Oh, and they also managed to explain how the most important emails related to an all-but-certain targeting of taxpayers by the IRS somehow managed to vanish into thin air.
If this were a movie, an astonished audience would be left with a distinct impression that the lives of soldiers lost or the victims of mass murder in Iraq or the breach of the trust of taxpayers really didn’t matter very much. More paramount would be the issue of the name of a football team.
I guess the movie could be entitled “Little Nero,” after the Roman emperor who supposedly sawed on his fiddle while Rome burned.
But then again, something similar to that title (“Little Caesar’s”) has already been used and would likely be deemed an infringement by the Trademark Board as offensive to pizza lovers.
Matt Towery is author of the book “Paranoid Nation: The Real Story of the 2008 Fight for the Presidency.”