Human beings are inherently fallible. When someone holds a position of authority, all of their flaws are magnified. This is one of the reasons people in authority depend on others around them to ensure they make as few mistakes as possible. This takes humility and trust, but ultimately the person with the authority is responsible for how the power they are given is used. The mark of a great captain is one that takes responsibility for his or her crew. The standard is that if a ship sinks, the captain sinks with it, but not before ensuring everyone else has abandoned ship. This requirement speaks to a collective sentiment that having authority must be synonymous with having honor.
I think of John McCain and his choice to abstain from being rescued as a POW. He made the choice to endure further suffering because he didn’t want to abandon his comrades. This is an act of honor. This does not mean John McCain is a perfect human being. This does not mean that he has never, or will never make a mistake. It simply means we can anticipate that if and when he does, he will conduct himself with honor in the face of it.
What happened to this standard? When did we no longer expect our chosen leaders to conduct themselves with honor?
When someone allows their closest friends, allies, and family members to take the fall for the misuse of the power they were given, they are nothing. They stand for nothing. Making such a choice is beyond making a mistake. Making such a choice is beyond a simple misuse of power. This is an act that displays a complete absence of character and it should be addressed as such.
Watching others choose to deny the painfully obvious void of character and integrity of someone who wields tremendous power speaks to the inevitable tone that authority figures set for those they lead.
The question becomes, “If the person who has power over me has no honor, why should I?”
“If those in authority declare that honor should no longer be a priority, why should I make it a priority?”
The answer to that is because people like Robert Mueller III and all that he stands for still exist in civilized society.