Friday, January 25, 2013

What a Difference

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton uttered a question during her most recent visit to Capitol Hill that will live in American life far beyond her years: "What difference does it make?"
The question was her visceral response to inquiries regarding her involvement with and understanding of the cover up related to the raid on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya. Mrs. Clinton's rational was that so much time had passed since events that took four American lives that what people knew or did at the time to cover up the case no longer matters. In effect, all those things happened a long time ago, so as for the cover up, what difference does it make? Telling the truth now won't bring back the Americans, so what difference does it make?

The logical - not to mention moral - fallacy of Mrs. Clinton's question cannot be overstated or underestimated. So let's take up these matters one at a time.

What difference do the facts make? The same kind of difference that causes police departments to take up "cold case" investigations. Justice makes a difference, so the cases are pursed regardless of how old they are. In this instance, four Americans were murdered and, in fact, the F.B.I. was called in to investigate. Try telling federal agents that their investigation no longer makes any difference; that catching the criminals no longer matters. See what kind of response you get.

Better yet, see what happens to the agent who says "These things happened a long time ago. What difference does it make whether we catch the bad guys or not?" I have a feeling he will soon be an ex-agent.

Do we really intend to tell the grieving families of these lost loved ones that finding the killers no longer makes a difference to anyone? Only in American politics (of the worst kind) can something as horrendous be written off - that it no longer makes any difference - because the event is old news. Or it is no longer politically expedient.

But there is a worse error, if possible, to Mrs. Clinton's remark. It is an example of the moral vacuum that permeates America and American politics today. She does not grasp the moral difference that works in this world.

Should people be stripped of a job because they lied years ago on their job application or test? Suppose the person who lied is a police officer, or fireman, or a pilot. Would you want an unqualified liar flying your aircraft? What difference does it make?

Or suppose your doctor lied and cheated his way through medical school years ago so he could obtain his medical license and now he is ready to operate on you. All those lies and cheating were years ago and this is today. So what difference does it make?

Or think of all the people who rejected Christ years ago and spent their lives in sin and some false religion of their own choosing. They had an opportunity to follow the right path but they didn't and now they face eternity uncertain and unprepared. They trusted the wrong savior. What difference does it make?

Do you suppose all the souls in hell could answer that question? Do you suppose the four dead men in Benghazi could? Do you suppose their families could?

I hope Mrs. Clinton has to live with that question the rest of her life because it's a certainty that our nation will, one way or the other. And if we do not begin to choose better leaders and a better way for our nation soon, what difference will it make?

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