I was listening to NPR yesterday. They were talking about the information the NSA was collecting on phone records. In the course of the conversation, there was an offhand remark to the following effect: “Obama is doing the same thing Bush did, although now it may be legal.”
Now, there are a lot of places to go with this. We can discuss whether it actually is legal, and we can chuckle about how, in effect, we’re now in the fourth term of Bush’s presidency. We can talk about how they skimmed past the “may be.” But what hit me at once was something different: a journalist casually mentioned that a President of the United States had committed crimes, and then breezily went on to other matters. The fact that the President had committed a crime was treated (correctly) as simply something everyone knew, and at no point was there the least hint there could, would, or should ever be any sort of prosecution for it.
How far have we come? Think about it. A major news organization mentions in passing that a President has committed a crime, and it isn’t even worth a pause in the conversation.
Are you angry yet? Disgusted? Appalled? I am.