Piercing the Heart, Soul and Spirit of America
By: Patti Bankson
We have an election coming up next month and the campaign â€œstuffâ€ is definitely out there. As I watch and listen, I admit I find all things political to be enlightening, annoying, encouraging, discouraging, energizing, tiresome, inspirational and disgusting, among other things. Mostly though, Iâ€™ve found that politics has forced me to educate myself. Itâ€™s made me realize that I â€“ and my country â€“ cannot afford to just let someone toss something out there without making sure that what the person is saying is based in fact and is what they know to be the truth. Again, we cannot afford as a country to keep electing and re-electing people devoid of character and ethics; who donâ€™t truly care about the well being of the people they represent; who donâ€™t want to be in office to serve … ideally, to serve the people, not themselves!
The Democratsâ€™ mantra since 2000 has been two-fold: the Republican Culture of Corruption and What ever is screwed up is Bushâ€™s fault. Heâ€™s wrong about everything – everything he does is wrong. The follow-up is always: â€œweâ€ need to change what â€œweâ€™reâ€ doing and how â€œweâ€™reâ€ doing it because this – the war, social security, taxes, you name it â€“ is not working! And itâ€™s all Bushâ€™s fault. Whether itâ€™s really his fault or not, if theyâ€™re so convinced, why donâ€™t we hear their solutions in place of their criticisms? Because they donâ€™t have any??
This Culture of Corruption thing is interesting, isnâ€™t it? Is there corruption in the Republican party? Obviously. Is there also corruption in the Democratic party? Duh! One of the most telling things though, is how differently the two parties handle their members In flagrante. The recent Mark Foley situation is a case in point. Republicans: The news is out, Foley is out. Democrats: The news was out that former Massachusetts Democratic Representative Gary Studds didnâ€™t just email or IM a male page – he got him drunk and molested him. He was so adamant about having done nothing wrong that when the entire congress censured him, he stood and turned his back to them! Of course, to their shame, the Democrats of MA overwhelmingly re-elected him. Speaking of In flagrante and no shame, thereâ€™s also President Clinton. Liberals like to say thatâ€™s different because Ms Lewinsky was not underage, so no harm, no foul. Wrong! The red herring is the age of the â€œvictimâ€; but the real issue is â€œabuse of powerâ€. All these people â€œpicked onâ€ someone over whom they had authority.
Let me tell you why I think the culture of corruption matters: when someone weâ€™ve elected to represent us â€“ to speak and act on our behalf â€“ does something immoral or illegal or unethical, and we donâ€™t make an issue of it – hold them accountable – weâ€™re complicit. By definition, weâ€™re associated with or participating in a questionable act or a crime. In other words, itâ€™s as if weâ€™ve actually done it ourselves.
Thatâ€™s what makes our vote so critical. Thatâ€™s what makes politics something that deserves more than the effort required to just throw a dart at a ballot and being satisfied with whichever â€œXâ€ the dart pierces. That dart isnâ€™t piercing just a piece of paper, itâ€™s piercing the very heart, soul and spirit of our country.
Patti Bankson invites your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
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