The public release of the government’s remaining undisclosed JFK files this week caused quite a controversy across the country. The Kennedy Assassination took place fifty-four years ago next month, yet it remains a perennial topic of conspiracy theory pontification. In recent years, conspiracies surrounding the shooting of JFK have grown even more intense than in the immediate aftermath of the assassination itself. This is a troubling symptom of our culture’s growing distrust of our government and public institutions, which must be overcome if we are going to restore free and responsible government in America.
Americans’ distrust of government is certainly not without reason; we have seen examples in recent days of just how entrenched special interest groups and political hacks are in Washington and government at every level. One has to look no further than this week’s revelation that the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign paid an opposition research group, Fusion GPS, to create a dossier about Trump and Russia. To make matters worse, it now appears that the FBI under James Comey may have helped with the now-infamous “Russia Dossier” that is nothing more than pure political propaganda.
The FBI is apparently not the only federal agency to be politicized in the last several election cycles; the Justice Department settled with several Tea Party groups this week after admitting that the IRS under Barack Obama did, in fact, target them for unfair scrutiny of their non-profit statuses. Americans have always had a healthy wariness of government overreach, and that is a good thing, but this constant barrage of scandals has taken a healthy wariness to an almost complete loss of confidence.
As the JFK records were set to be unsealed this week, people across the political spectrum openly wondered if it would reveal that the CIA helped kill the 35th President, or if Lyndon Johnson paid the assassin. This historical speculation is driven, at least in part, by present political scandals. Even long-held beliefs and ideals are under scrutiny because of the lost trust we have in our elected officials at nearly every level. This must change if we are going to reunite our nation.
For the record, I do believe that JFK was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald and was not helped by the CIA. I also believe, however, that the IRS targeted conservative groups and that the Comey FBI helped Hillary Clinton create propaganda last year. Those issues are now beyond conspiracy theory.
If we are going to rebuild trust in our institutions, we must reaffirm character in our country. Politicians of both parties need to be held to higher moral standards, and we need term limits at every level so that an elite political class does not become entrenched in their own interests. By depoliticizing agencies that serve all Americans, regardless of political ideation, we can help restore national unity and confidence in a government of, for, and by the people it is supposed to serve.