In recent days, the spigots of political scandal in Washington have opened yet again as the terror attack in Benghazi, the IRS’s blatant targeting of specific ideological organizations and the unprecedented seizure of The Associated Press’ records dominate the headlines.

These scandals are far more important than the stereotypical “gotcha” politics of Washington. In fact they have thrust into the spotlight the fundamental erosion in the traditional boundaries of government, and this administration’s flagrant and willful violation of the Constitution and stubborn determination to forever alter the relationship between the people and the government.

That the administration might have “revised” its facts about what happened in Benghazi, Libya, is frustrating and disappointing. It could be criminal if officials lied to Congress. But it will barely penetrate the minds of the American people. After all, scandals in politics have become all too commonplace and all too predictable. Nonetheless, the truth must be pursued no matter its outcome.

Far more alarming is the notion that the IRS was at the epicenter of the government’s targeting of political dissent. It’s almost unthinkable that senior government officials could use their power and authority to target those who disagreed with their political leaders. It smacks of the very same iron-fisted controls that thugocrats and dictators use to snuff out dissent.

Then, on top of the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the Justice Department has now targeted the media. By seizing the records of AP reporters, the administration is attempting to scare other media organizations away from investigative reporting of the government’s activities, cloaking the government actions in carefully crafted language about “leaks” and “national security.” What it actually amounts to is the brutalizing of a free press to ward off unwanted inspection of the government, and it stands to have a chilling impact on the very health and viability of our Republic.
As Ronald Reagan once said, “Either you will control your government, or government will control you.”

These and other recent headlines and activities dramatically showcase a federal government that is determined to pursue a course of destructive actions designed to increase its reach and power and to diminish our rights and freedoms in a quest to control us.

It is the brink of a constitutional crisis that threatens the fabric of our nation in a way not seen since the time of Lincoln.

The Founders feared a concentration of power and an intrusive national government. They wrote a constitution to protect the power and freedom of the individual, not a guideline on how to grow government power.

But during the first 13 years of the 21st Century, under both Republican and Democrat leadership, we have witnessed an unprecedented destruction of liberty and an Orwellian-like expansion of the federal government that threatens to permanently recast the very notion of America.
At the dawn of this century, we have seen perhaps the most fundamental realignment of the relationship between the people and their government since our founding.
Freedom is the lynchpin of America.

The difficulties of our time are no excuse for the American people to surrender the basic tenets of freedom. Washington does not possess the wisdom to cure all that ails us. Washington does not have the right to manipulate, intimate and control us.

Nothing less than the fabric of our nation and the sacrifices of all who came before us is now at stake.

Mack has served on the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee and is a frequent commentator on MSNBC, FOX and CNN.