Blog

I Need to Take a Fifth

 

If we lived in a real (not to say free) country, then we would be reading something like the following exchanges:

 

Congressman Issa:  So, Ms Lerner, how and when exactly did you learn that your department was illegally targeting conservative and pro-life groups.

Lerner:  Congressman Issa, on the advice of my attorney, I respectfully invoke my rights under the Fifth Amendment not to incriminate myself.

Issa:  Ms Lerner, your statement is ridiculous. First, you obviously surrendered your right to remain silent when you read a prepared statement.  When you said, and I quote, "I did nothing wrong," were you then saying that what your department did was legal and ethical?

Lerner:  Congressman Issa, on the advice of my attorney, I respectfully invoke my rights under the Fifth Amendment not to incriminate myself.

Issa:  Then, just so I'll understand, you actually do think that if you tell this committee the truth you will be incriminating yourself?

Lerner:  Congressman Issa, on the advice of my attorney, I respectfully invoke my rights under the Fifth Amendment not to incriminate myself.

Issa:  Do you own a dictionary?

Lerner:  Congressman Issa, on the advice of my attorney, I respectfully invoke my rights under the Fifth Amendment not to incriminate myself.

Issa:  Because according to the dictionary, incriminate means: "to charge with a crime."  What is the crime you would be charging yourself with, if you told this committee the truth?

Lerner:  Congressman Issa, on the advice of my attorney, I respectfully invoke my rights under the Fifth Amendment not to incriminate myself.

Issa:  You are an employee of the Federal Government.  Do you honestly think that someone who takes the taxpayer's money as a salary is not responsible to those same taxpayers?

Lerner:  Congressman Issa, on the advice of my attorney, I respectfully invoke my rights under the Fifth Amendment not to incriminate myself.

Issa:  And do you think it is ethical or even legal for you as a Federal employee to refuse to cooperate with a Congressional committee?

Lerner:  Congressman Issa, on the advice of my attorney, I respectfully invoke my rights under the Fifth Amendment not to incriminate myself.

Issa:  Ms Lerner, in putting yourself above the law, you have violated both the public's trust and the laws of this land.  I have here a warrant for your arrest, and you will have plenty of time to consult a dictionary in the days, weeks, months, and years to come...

Lerner and Issa don't care about what I think,

I guess I'll just sit here and drink

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is the former editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of The Politics of Human Nature, Montenegro: The Divided Land, and The Morality of Everyday Life, named Editors' Choice in philosophy by Booklist in 2005. He is the coauthor of The Conservative Movement and the editor of Immigration and the American Identity. He holds a Ph.D. in classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Before joining the Rockford Institute, he taught classics at the University of Miami of Ohio, served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education, and was headmaster at the Archibald Rutledge Academy. He has been published in, among others, The Spectator (London), Independent on Sunday (London), Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, Classical Journal, Telos, and Modern Age. He and his wife, Gail, have four children and four grandchildren.

Add a Comment

 

Join the conversation...

You are currently using the BETA version of our article comments feature. You may notice some bugs in submission and user experience. Significant improvements are coming soon!

or

Be the first to comment on this article!

X