Routine Vetting

The Attorney General serves as the “people’s lawyer.” Charged with enforcing and prosecuting federal law they advise on the constitutionality of proposed legislation and interpret the bounds of our drug enforcement policy, immigration policy, and criminal justice guidelines.

They AG oversees and heads our Department of Justice. They decide how to color in the grey areas that determine the limits of our 1st, 2nd and 4th amendments; decree just how absolute our individual rights to freedom and privacy are.

It is undoubtedly a role that is critical to the national security of the United States. Afforded access to our nations’s secrets and charged with enforcement of law and order. There is no question that if an unqualified or otherwise incompetent individual was placed into that role it may cause grave harm to our nation.

Our founding father’s certainly thought so. That’s why under the Appointments Clause of the United States Constitution, the Attorney General is nominated by the President of the United States and appointed with the advice and consent of the United States Senate.

In other words before ever assuming office the Attorney General gets a contingent job offer. Candidates interview, and are presumably vetted by the President. A background check of sorts is then conducted to confirm the candidate is who he represented himself to be throughout the interview process. An extreme vetting of sorts, appropriate for a soon to be national security risk.

This is not open for interpretation. Advice and consent of the Senate is a prerequisite for the job. Routine vetting of the candidate a necessary precaution before they are entrusted with our most sensitive secrets.

It’s true the President is free to fire the AG at his will. It does not mean he can handpick his successor. There is a Deputy AG, Associate AGs and plenty of other already Senate confirmed replacement candidates qualified to serve as the Acting AG. It’s why Pompeo was so easily able to replace Tillerson.

Surely the person who calls for the extreme vetting of already vetted refugees. The man who deploys 15,000 troops to our borders to protect us from the soon-to-be-but-not-yet-impending arrival of a caravan of unarmed terrorist immigrants. Surely the law and order president whose number one priority is our national security understands what is at risk and wouldn’t play loose with our Constitution.

So how is Matthew Whitaker now serving as AG? He is not Senate confirmed. In fact our so called President claims to barely know him. He refuses to turn over his financial disclosure forms. His only qualification seems to be his vocal opposition to the Mueller investigation, which he not so coincidentally now leads. Even worse he was placed in the role unchecked by the presumed target of said investigation.

Am I really the only one who has a problem with this arrangement? Has the blue wave left us dazed and confused?

We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis. The deconstruction of the administrative state is taking place before our very eyes. The system of checks and balances we’ve relied on is under attack. The Executive Branch slowly consuming all around it, with little resistance.

It is time we force the issue and meet the beast head on. We must proactively protect the Mueller investigation. Must insist any Acting Attorney General have already been vetted and confirmed by the Senate in some prior capacity. Raise a direct challenge to Whitaker’s unilateral appointment.

Americans of all stripes must coalesce around a single message. Must insist on the routine vetting of all Cabinet members. Pressure your representatives to take a stand. We cannot afford to play Russian roulette with our national security any longer.

The Rainbow Wave

I’m as excited as anyone at the prospect of a Blue Wave. I hope with all my being that the American people are given a free and fair chance to right this ship; an opportunity to bring some adults back into the room. Yet if there is one lesson learned over these past 2 years it’s that character matters. It is not, and should not be strictly about party or, even winning. The substance of the candidate matters as well.

If our Republic was functioning as intended it would be more than a wave of Democrats voted into office this election year. It would be our best leaders from across the spectrum. True representatives that would not divide this nation into false “us” verse “them” narratives. A representative body not just diverse in sex, race and color, but in thought as well.

America was a beacon of hope and freedom throughout the world. Exceptional in hee diversity, she was the land of hope and opportunity. A fierce defender of individual freedom, she pledged liberty and justice for all. To get that back will require real leadership.

To truly make America great again, we will need to elect leaders who work for the people they represent. The ones that walk the walk. The greatest leaders do share certain attributes that contribute to their success, but not lockstep political beliefs.

They don’t take positions for convenience or to pander to their base, but because they are passionate about their beliefs and practice what they preach.

Those who emphasize collaboration and inclusiveness. The ones who do not fear diversity, but embrace it.

Those who welcome opposition. The ones who hold town halls and do not suppress feedback or dissenting opinions, but listen and learn from them.

Those who build a shared vision of the future. They do not think perception is reality, but rely on facts, science and logic to shape perception to match reality.

Those who own their actions. They do not finger point, blame predecessors or deny accountability for their decisions. They understand that once empowered the buck stops with them. Period.

Those who problem solve. The ones who do not act a prisoner of circumstance or play the victim, but innovate and experiment with new paradigms to limit or remove walls and obstacles.

Those who prioritize knowing their people, who serve their constituents . They do not view empathy as a weakness. They know it to be a virtue.

Those who extend kindness, who takes the high road when the other goes low. The ones who do not bully, but nurture.

Those who encourage teamwork. They do not ostracize, belittle, or build walls. They promote commonalities, break barriers and build bridges.

Those who lead with hope. They do not rule by negativity and fear. They grow consensus through transparency and communication.

Those who create opportunity for all. The ones who do not close doors or instill artificial barriers to entry, but rely on objective measures to reward and promote all those who merit consideration.

Those who safeguard open communications, and rights to privacy. They do not silence and threaten whistle blowers and leakers. They protect anonymity by offering hotlines and access to independent arbiters.

In the course of history there have been countless examples of leaders who chose to rule otherwise. Who ruled through fear mongering, authoritarian accountability and slogans. Who preyed on the weakness of the disenfranchised to promote their own agenda. Who gave voice to the extremes.

But riddle me this? Has such a leader ever been on the right side of history? Have they ever progressed our collective interests? Brought us closer to that more perfect union our founders dreamed of?

The answers, I hope, are obvious. At least this year they are. It is your civic responsibility to vote, informed consent of the public a constitutional requirement. Well until such time the GOP prove even qualified to perform the job, to act as an independent check and balance on the Executive, they are unelectable. Basic job understanding being a prerequisite for consideration. That leaves most Americans with only one choice. That is unfortunate but the reality we are in.

So this year let’s hope and pray for a #BlueWave. Please go out and vote like your freedom depends on it. In numbers that cannot be denied.

But starting next year let’s hope for the start of a #RainbowWave. The election of the greatest leaders from across the country. The ones whose uniqueness and diversity is instantly recognized across the globe as the example of man’s progress