Sunday, May 21, 2006

Is the writing on the wall?

Self interest apart there seems little that will the excesses of many politicians. So often, confronted with unassailable evidence of questionable practices, our elected representatives will simply shrug, lie or otherwise brush the issue off.
The incredible thing is, for an assortment of reasons, voters will let them. Let them for a while, that is, until the weight of dubious behavior becomes too much to ignore.
The self-interest cuts in when opinion polls start to show the voters getting restless. The thing about ethical behavior, regardless of codes or any other formula is that it is only really defined by voter acceptance or rejection of certain behaviours.
If the electorate is content to overlook gross attacks on public trust; lies, theft, abuse of liberties and democratic rights, even murder, then they don’t effectively constitute corruption.
Which brings us to the previous post - Lawmakers in corruption spotlight.
An AP-Ipsos poll conducted at the beginning of this month showed a 71 percent disapproved of the way Congress is handling its job, while only 25 percent of those surveyed approved.
The House Ethics Committee has risen from a 16 month coma to address what is now becoming a worrying (to them now) public opinion of the behavior of members.
One of the obvious worries, beyond just losing power, is losing control of the potential to investigate and prosecute corruption among their number. A power shift from the Republicans to the Democrats in November will open up vest opportunities for outing unethical members.
Given recent episodes we can be certain that no amount of shredding will destroy evidence which pure arrogance has allowed to be spread wide and deep. Yes, they should be worried.
The White House, like Congress, is embroiled in its own ethical mess, which is even more curious. I’m not sure of the historic probability of a party to dominate beyond a couple of presidential terms.
The probability is clear for presidents. Apart from the bundle of Republicans who held the White House through 1896 to 1912 and the marathon 12 years for Franklin D. Roosevelt, a party is lucky to come unscathed through two terms, never mind holding the crown for a third.
I would like to think that corrupt representatives of any party, indeed any country, had nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. We know that is a pipe dream, but to dream that this one bunch of ethically challenged politicians will soon be pulled up short.
At the very least their destructive, divisive self serving policies will be bought to an end. It is time the people, like the House Ethics Committee, woke from their slumber and acted.

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