Monday, July 7, 2008

Why Are Our Politicians Leading Us To Hell-in-a-Hand-basket?

Why are our politicians unresponsive to the public? How come they are constantly trying to convince us that they will solve the same old problems that they themselves have caused? Does it seem like this country is headed in the wrong direction? Why is this happening and what can we do? The answer is that our lawmakers are not being held accountable by the public. Today's culture considers it wrong to be judgemental if no laws are broken. America has lost its moral compass. The people who write the laws are experts at using the law to their advantage, especially if they are not held morally accountable.

Our politicians have found new ways to become corrupt while still working within the constraints of the law. For example, an alarming number of congressmen have family members who work for companies that benefit from legislation before their relative in Congress. For example, Congressman Murtha has a brother who sits on the board of directors for 10 different defense contractors. Congressman Murtha is the chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, and authorizes defense contracts that benefit his brothers firms. Murtha is one of the most outspoken anti-war congressmen in the Congress. This is the perfect cover for him to hide behind while he funnels hundreds of millions of dollars towards his brothers businesses that produce the machinery and weapons of war.

Also, as many as ten percent (some sources claim 25%) of congressmen have a family members being paid as a lobbyist by a company or country that benefits by pending legislation before congress. Congresswoman Barbara Boxer's husband's business, that involves trade with China, is booming. She is among the wealthiest people in the congress due to her husband's business dealings and favorable trade policies that the congress has approved with China.

Another legal form of corruption that high government officials engage in, is working as lobbyists themselves after leaving government office. Former secretary of state, Madeline Albright, now works as a registered foreign agent, as a lobbyist for the United Arab Emeritus. President Clinton has been hired to give speeches for the UAE. He was payed fees of over a million dollars per speech by the UAE. Are Clinton's words actually worth that much or is the UAE actually buying his influence?

Another outrageous congressman is William Jefferson. Congressman Jefferson was the target of a two year investigation which culminated when investigators found 90,000 in cash in the congressman's home freezer. The congressman was charged last year with racketeering, soliciting bribes for himself and his family, fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, conspiracy and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. His brother and sister were also indicted on related charges. The congressman is fighting the case, claiming that he was set up, and that the subsequent search of his congressional office was illegal. Congressman Jefferson has remained in office for nearly two years since he was in indicted on these charges and is planning to run for re-election in November. Congressman Jefferson has used technicalities in the law to have evidence suppressed, and has a good chance of beating his case legally. In my wildest imagination, I can not come up with a rational explanation for Jefferson to have 90,000 dollars hidden in his home freezer. Especially since two men have already been convicted of bribing the Congressman.

Why is this man still in office? How can this man run for re-election. The sad truth is that he will probably win the election and hold on to his congressional seat in November because of a practice called gerrymandering and public apathy. Gerrymandering is the practice of mapping out congressional districts so that they are either predominantly democratic or predominantly republican. This practice usually insures that an incumbent candidate wins in congressional elections. Both parties support the practice of gerrymandering because it helps the lawmakers retain their seat regardless of the general approval of the voters. Since democrats usually vote for democrats, Jefferson will probably get re-elected because his congressional district has been mapped out in such a way that the residents are probably 90% democrat. Gerrymandering is clearly an unfair, unethical practice, but it remains in practice because it benefits the people who write the laws.

What is most astounding to me, is that there is no outrage from the public about these obvious cases of conflict of interest that impact on our nations national security and political system. The public is either asleep at the switch(not paying attention) or have no moral compass of their own and are unable to distinguish right from wrong. Or worse than that, they have been taught that passing judgment is wrong. If no laws were broken, who are they to judge. But these are the people who write the laws, they must be held accountable to the universal spiritual principles that our country was founded upon. Few people are holding our lawmakers accountable and the vast majority of the public just does not care. Just like the law-makers are ignoring their moral obligation to serve the public and carry out their duties in a fair, honorable and selfless manner, the public is ignoring their moral obligation by not holding them accountable to high moral and ethical standards.

Where is the outrage. The above issues are much more important to the country than holding a congressional investigation on baseball players who take steroids. But the steroid investigation and most of the highly publicized business of this congress, serves as a distraction. Why am I the only one who sees through all of these obvious distractions? Why am I the only one who is outraged by the obvious conflict of interest of many of our top lawmakers? The reason is that much today's popular culture has been so confused, they no longer can tell right from wrong, good from evil, moral from immoral. They are completely incapable of holding our leaders' feet to the fire because they have been taught that all forms of moral restraint is wrong. They have given our political leaders "Carte Blanche" when in comes to immoral and unethical behavior as long as they are convinced that their intentions are good and that they really care about them.

This first became clear to me when President Clinton was disbarred and impeached for lying in a court disposition and suborning perjury. This case involved Clinton having sex with a 21 year old intern (Monica Lewinsky) while Clinton was at work as president in the oval office. Clinton then lied in a court disposition about the incident, lied in a TV announcement specifically about the incident and urged Miss Lewinsky to lie in court. Clinton was not held accountable by the US Senate and was allowed to complete his term in office. Clinton left office the following year with an extremely high approval rating. This is when I first realized that our nation was in trouble. Not because of what the president did, but because the public and the Senate were apathetic, and did not hold him accountable. They justified his behavior and subsequent cover-up by saying that it was no big deal, he just lied about sex.

Today's politicians are not held accountable by the public. In today's popular culture, our moral standards have become blurred and watered down. In a world where boys are dressing like girls, girls are dressing like hookers, suburban teenagers emulate the gang-banging hoodlums of the ghettos, and obscene rap music is on the top ten hits list, how are we able to judge our legislators and hold them accountable? Our culture is too interested in demanding freedom of expression or speaking out for causes that they know little about. They rally behind popular catch phrases that make them feel good, like save the whales, save the planet, 'make love, not war', down with greedy corporations, no war for oil, 'Bush lied, people died', no tax cuts for the rich, AIDS awareness, gay pride, sexual freedom, freedom of expression, etc. Unfortunately they have little understanding of the importance of character and integrity or the unintended consequences of the causes that they support. They can't see how they are being used by the very politicians and special interests that they think are on their side. There are fewer and fewer people that are informed enough or motivated enough to hold our politicians accountable.

Human nature dictates that if nobody is holding you accountable, you will probably do something selfish, greedy and wrong if you are not restrained by moral and ethical standards. Once upon a time, most of us went to church on Sunday to remind us of this aspect of human nature. Today, Christianity is mocked and ridiculed because it is considered judgmental and restrictive. While everyone is having a good time letting it all hang out, the politicians and their associates are taking advantage of the public's gullibility. As they rake it all in, they recklessly destroy the future of a nation that took over two hundred years of hard work, perseverance and moral restraint to build. If we don't hold our politicians ethically and morally accountable, they will lead us all to hell-in-a-hand-basket.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Good article, Gary. I only noticed 1 misspelling, "manor" in place of "manner". That's one that Spell Check wouldn't find.
It's interesting that you didn't mention Elliott Spitzer. That was the biggest scandal of recent years, & Mr. Spitzer paid the price. He was obviously a brilliant man, having graduated from Harvard Law School.
I checked out Al Franken. He is Jewish like Mr. Spitzer, & graduated from Harvard. His kids graduated from Harvard & Princeton.
I remember the character "Stuart" created by Mr. Franken. He used to do radio commercials as that character, & he made a movie.
I read that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is leading a 3 day international conference on religion next week in Spain. He has invited Muslims of all different persuasions, as well as Christians & Jews. Maybe he is reaching out to the world religious communities.