In our modern age, you would think that things would be done differently. Just listen to how the Obama administration talks about Russia and their actions in Ukraine and Crimea – according to President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, these things just aren’t done anymore. The days of nations invading other nations and taking them over have past. That just isn’t how the world works anymore.
And yet, no matter how much these Soviet-era actions may offend modern sensibilities, some simple truths don’t change just because we want them to. Might still makes right, even when it’s wrong.
In many ways, it is the same domestically here in America. Our politicians prattle on about doing what is right “for the children,” and about the need for the government to regulate and control every aspect of every Americans’ life, all for our own protection. And yet, these people who deign to dictate what’s best for us in every aspect of our lives continue to be those people least worthy of the trust necessary for the power they wield.
In these modern times, one would think that we would have moved beyond the days of bribery and kickbacks, and yet it seems that we are returning to the bad old days, where the people of America have less and less power, and our nation is increasingly run by politicians in the pockets of unions, political parties, lobbyists, and corporate interests.
Here in California, three state senators have been brought up on charges of corruption in the past year. The most recent and most alarming of these is Senator Leland Yee, who for years has crusaded for tougher gun laws, ostensibly to protect the people of California. His crimes are notable because, in addition to the traditional “pay for play” corruption – taking kickbacks in exchange for political favors – Yee was caught accepting campaign donations in exchange for setting up illegal weapons deals.
The same day that charges against Senator Yee were made public, the mayor or Raleigh, South Carolina was also charged with corruption.
By now, we’ve all heard the stories about Governor Chris Christie’s Bridge-Gate scandal, where his staff purposefully closed traffic lanes to tie up traffic in retaliation for a mayor’s refusal to endorse Christie.
And there are hundreds of other stories from states across our nation about politicians abusing their power, using their elected positions for personal gain, lying in order to get elected, lying to cover their abuses once in office, betraying the public trust.
And it is even worse at the federal level.
Today, the IRS is used as a political weapon in ways that would make Richard Nixon blush, yet what was an impeachable offense forty years ago is glossed over as a mere political disagreement today – despite significant evidence of criminal behavior, no criminal investigation has commenced.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can illegally put thousands of guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, lose track of those weapons, lie to Congress and obscure a Congressional investigation, and face no repercussions. Attorney General Eric Holder still has not answered for charges of contempt of Congress for his role in obstructing their investigation.
The administration can lie continually about its signature legislative achievement, call it “the law of the land” based on a sham Supreme Court ruling, but change it on a whim without Congressional approval, and then mock their political enemies for wanting to do away with it, yet while the administration fails in implementing the law at every step of the way, no bureaucrat or cabinet member faces any consequences for these continued failures.
Our federal government can bail out corrupt banks, and any corporation it deems “too big to fail,” and use laws, policies and programs to give kickbacks to their political allies, yet We the People are left to pay the inflated prices, while being tied down in the red tape of their ever-increasing regulations, with little recourse but to shoulder our burdens and carry on.
The larger danger than the corruption that pervades our political landscape are the people in America who either don’t care, or only care about corruption when the other party engages in it. But the truth is, no matter the party – Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, Green, Peace and Freedom, Constitution, or whichever political party a corrupt politician belongs to, it is the responsibility of the citizens of the United States of America to unite against them.
The sad truth is, unless and until that happens, our nation is doomed to fail.