America's "Titles of Nobility"

An extraordinary article was published in this morning's USA Today that succinctly describes what is so terribly wrong with America's "political class." I urge you to read it in its entirety. Here are excerpts: 

"By custom, we allow our politicians to retain their titles for life. Throughout the 2012 election, Mitt Romney was referred to as 'Governor Romney,' though he had not been in public office for six years," Cooke wrote. "One can only ask, 'Why?' America being a nation of laws and not men, political power is not held in perpetuity, and there is supposed to be no permanent political class."

The article goes on to say: 

In America, if you misunderstand the law, or simply are ignorant of it, you will nonetheless be liable to go to jail or be sued — if you are an ordinary citizen. If you are a government official, you can generally avoid liability in a lawsuit by pleading “qualified immunity,” meaning, in essence, that you misunderstood the law or were ignorant of it, but acted in good faith, a defense that is not available to ordinary citizens.  As a judge or prosecutor it’s even better: you enjoy “absolute immunity,” meaning that in almost every circumstance you can’t be sued at all.
These governmental immunities aren’t in the Constitution, and they’re not the product of statutes passed by Congress. They were invented by judges (themselves government employees) who thought immunity for government employees was a good idea. And government officials almost never face criminal prosecution for their official acts, and on the rare occasions that they do, they are almost never convicted.
When the EPA poisoned the Animas River in Colorado, it rejected claims for damages, and nobody from the EPA went to jail.  A private company under similar circumstances would have faced ruinous losses, and the executives would have risked criminal prosecution. Then-EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy skated.
When I was young, Congress met about six months a year. Many congresspeople came home to their regular jobs when they left office. I can't tell you exactly when all of this changed but I sensed it during the administration of the first President Bush. It got much worse during the Clinton Administration. 

The election of President Trump -- who had never held political office -- was an instinctive reaction to all of this. The Trump supporters (many of whom were holding their noses with one hand as they cast their ballot with the other) knew that our nation (as we have known it) depended on breaking this cycle. Thus, an outsider had to be brought in. 

My solution is that qualified and absolute immunity have to go. Period. Yes, there can be some type of protection for them but bad acts should be prosecuted. 


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