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The Hidden Cost of Corruption and ScandalBob Collinsworth Salem-News.com
If these individuals cannot be trusted by their spouses, by their constituency, by their neighbors, and by their peers, they certainly do not belong where they are.
(HARRISVILLE, N.H.) - There has always been a certain amount of corruption and scandal involving elected officials in the United States. History books tell many tales about the “Teapot Dome” scandal, Tammany Hall, Abscam, Iran-Contra, the DeLay fundraising probe, The Clinton/Lewinsky scandal, Larry Craig, Elliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner, and the many Ted Kennedy involvements.
Corruption and scandal go back almost to the discovery and involve Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Senators, Congressional Representatives, various Cabinet members, State Governors, Supreme Court Judges, and many lesser officials.
The problem is that corruption and scandal almost appear to be evolving into accepted norms for U.S. politics. Both occur too frequently to go without questioning the system itself.
Do we as voters do sufficient analysis of the candidates?
Is there really a system of checks and balances that works? Is the system being used in the way it was intended to be used?
Is there sufficient transparency in our government at all levels?
The only thing that is certain right now is that there are far more questions than answers regarding why the frequency of corruption and scandal among elected officials continues to increase.
When you look at many of the recent cases involving corruption and scandal you might ask, “Who really cares?” or say “This is little more than a minor infraction”.
I do not see it that way and here is why:
(1) Norms tend to change and they change based on what has gone before. Do we really want to see a continued increase in these things because Representative So-and-So got away with it?
(2) When elected officials vote based on who is greasing their palm or the Party’s palm, rather than what their constituents want or need, democracy itself takes a heavy hit.
(3) We are part of a global community and what blackens our eye blackens the world’s eye. We must remember that perception is reality in the eyes of the beholder and the reality we project has not been a bright and shiny halo or the “warm fuzzies” as of late.
(4) Our children and grandchildren look to our leaders for example. They are taught history in school from books that are beginning to have more than just a smattering of the dark side of government. These children will someday wonder where our heads were when we voted for some of these officials and I for one, would like to minimize the number of explanations I have to give.
You see, the cost of corruption and scandal is not only the multi-million dollar payout to the same bankers who brought our country to its knees recently, or the taxpayer dollars involved in the Iran Contra Scandal, or the campaign contributions that went to support a mistress.
There are many more hidden costs that could well prove to be more than our National moral pocketbook can bear. These costs do reflect our image to the eyes of the world and will continue to reflect our image to generations yet to be born.
Last but far from least is the issue of trust. If these individuals cannot be trusted by their spouses, by their constituency, by their neighbors, and by their peers, they certainly do not belong where they are.
I am far from being a moralist and to be honest, I could not care less if “Joe Dumb-Ass” from down the road wants to risk his reputation by driving around town with a vanload of prostitutes or by wasting his paycheck on illegal gambling. The problem here is that we are not talking about “Joe Dumb-Ass” from down the road. We are talking about people who represent our country, control the spending of our tax dollars, make decisions that can and do affect the entire world.
Remember, these people are the United States to many who view their actions around the world. Just because they have no pride in themselves is no reason to allow them to destroy our chance to be proud of our country. Wake up people and smell the manure these individuals are spreading over our reputation. Get away from the TV and investigate who they are and what they are doing. Time is running out for the United States... and that is not just my opinion!
Writer Robert Collinsworth is an American who isn't hesitant to talk about the good side of his country, and that is a welcome thing in this day and age. Salem-News.com admittedly, is very critical of both American politics, as well as those of other nations that we perceive is being wrong in their motives and actions. At the same time, within these structures we criticize, are many outstanding people who make each day a better place for all those around them. They embody and personify the American spirit that is sometimes fleeting, but always present.
These are some of the things Robert takes into account when writing commentary that is designed reach people, to "get them thinking" in his words, and indeed it does. Salem-News.com's goal is for all people to be on the same page, we appreciate Bob's more conservative approach toward that same goal."
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