Corruption Tests Our American Principles

Corruption is everywhere

Corruption is pervasive. It has been throughout history whenever and wherever fear and greed touched human hearts. To say it’s human is not wrong. It is wrong, however, to assume it must persist – to always be allowed to spread.

The impeachment inquiry we are witnessing in Congress is focused on corruption. The concern is of its magnitude, who participated, and how it affects our principles outlined in our Constitution. Some say the corruption activities are common, trifling, and nothing to see here.

Corruption source and cost

The witnesses reveal otherwise. It is readily admitted that Ukraine’s government, prior to the recent election of President Volodymyr Zelensky, was deeply corrupt. Further, the scandalous activities were orchestrated by Russia – particularly President Vladimir Putin, its master puppeteer.

112519 Corruption

Efforts, the witnesses reveal, were taken to block such activities and to investigate Ukraine’s corruption reach, depth, and consequence. Indeed, one of Zelensky’s primary points of appeal for his landslide election win was his promise to eliminate the country’s corruption. Now, some say, corruption has touched our own presidency with charges of bribery, abuse of power, and obstruction. The corruption spreads around the globe.

Such disruption of the deep-seated criminality has a cost. Indiana’s Representative Carson inquired about how Ambassador Yovanovich was disliked for her anti-corruption efforts. Walter Einenkel of the Daily Kos reported that George Kent, the State Department’s official in charge of Ukraine policy, replied: You can’t promote principled anti-corruption action without pissing off corrupt people.

Corruption invites fear.

Recognizing corruption

Corruption is easy to recognize. It’s relatively easy, too, to identify its participants. Sometimes, the intent for such actions become apparent. It’s particularly easy when we consider the corruption happens on the other side of the globe, beyond our borders, far away from us.

But here at home our perspectives and honesty shift. We excuse ourselves and blame others. The nefarious deeds and attitudes emanate from “them,” not us.

Remember, though, corruption is in our genes – our human natures. It’s the kind of dishonesty that emerges whenever we ignore our principles to favor ourselves. As mentioned earlier, corruption is pervasive; but it should not be tolerated, especially from our leaders who take an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution – a framework of principles that hold us all accountable.

Now we watch the impeachment inquiry and, solemnly (though not always reluctantly), we take sides. Our sense of belief and trust is challenged as we recognize not all is right with the world. Chaos seems to prevail and world order is upended. What will the future bring?

Corruption is normal – get over it

What stands out for me, what is so insidious, is how easily corruption can become a new normal. It’s telling that some will say such things occur – regularly – and that we should just get over it. Walk it off, so to speak.

A corrupt perspective is a new normal even when we elect a new president. We cast our ballots in good faith, hoping our choices will matter and that our voting system is fair. Sadly, many of our votes do not matter; and, even sadder, few citizens even notice this systemic corruption. We the people collectively ignore the lack of inclusivity of our presidential voting practices.

Presidential elections are corrupt

Every presidential election finds many of us not are participating (about 30% of registered voters in 2016). Worse, another 46% of the votes cast are never even represented in the Electoral College. For example, over 32 million votes cast for Clinton in 2016 were cast aside, as were over 22 million votes cast for Trump. Is it corruption to continually ignore such vote suppression?

Every presidential election, then, requires three registered voters so we can obtain one viable presidential ballot! This is not a nefarious kind of corruption. Nor is this some kind of collusion or conspiracy. It’s a systemic problem that continues to be ignored. It’s historically “normal” to abuse our voting system.

Fixing elections corruption

As I continue to remind the readers of this blog, Equal Voice Voting (EVV) can easily correct this bit of oversight on a state-by-state basis. EVV would make every vote matter and every state count. It can do so without a Constitutional amendment, without an interstate compact, and without any added cost burden. Further, EVV would preserve the Electoral College, allowing it to function as the Founding Fathers desired.

So why don’t we fix it?

It’s a matter of choice – not a lack of facts. And, as we are witnessing on the national stage with the impeachment inquiry, our choices often leave the moorings of principles. We abandon our principles when we (and legislative leaders) put political party over good governance, when job and personal security override patriotic duty, and when decency succumbs to fear and greed.

Watching is a Thanksgiving exercise

We need to watch these inquiry proceedings. We need to follow the impeachment path as it wends its way through the House Judiciary Committee and onto the House Floor. If the vote favors impeachment, our watch needs to continue onto the Senate trial.

It’s important to recognize, exactly, what we watch for. It’s not enough to simply see a verdict – a result. It’s not enough to see which side wins. We the people must attend to what transpires and recognize when our American principles, our national sense of decency and loyalty and patriotism either hold or become forfeited. If the latter, then we’ll know that corruption is winning. We’ll know our Constitution is in crises.

If the results are of the former wherein these pillars of American strength continue to hold, we can all be thankful this Thanksgiving. May it be so.

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