I’ve been distracted by life for a week or so, and I haven’t spent much in the blogosphere, but I’m back on an irritated note, because I see some prominent examples today of a disturbing trend I’ve noticed for some time.
Following the latest round of presidential debates in New Hampshire, there’s a controversy on the Republican end of things about whether or not President Bush should pardon Scooter Libby before he has to spend any time in prison for being instrumental in leaking the names of CIA operatives.
Wait, wait, wait…pardon? Did someone just say pardon???
You know, I suppose I should expect this kind of thing from the good ole boys’ club now known as the Republican party, but even from Bush this surprises me. Libby intentionally left lives in danger, lives we will likely never know about, and now they’re talking about pardoning him???
Don’t get too upset yet, because this just keeps getting better. Anderson Cooper aired a story last night (the transcript wasn’t available as I wrote this) about how congressmen convicted of major crimes continue to receive a congressional pension (paid for by our tax dollars) even while incarcerated. Only conviction of treason can apparently forfeit this “right” that they have.
So our elected officials continue to ensure payment of their criminal co-workers while seriously considering pardoning others…well, obviously there are just things at work here that the “little people” can’t understand, right?
James Gilmore, a former Virginia attorney general and onetime Republican National Committee chairman, was quoted in the L.A. Times article as saying: “If the public believes there’s one law for a certain group of people in high places and another law for regular people, then you will destroy the law and destroy the system.”
I don’t think it’s a case of if we believe this any longer. It’s in front of us everyday. Politicians get pardoned and paid where we would be locked away to rot. Celebrities like Paris Hilton are released from jail to do house arrest for what was a much shorter sentence than was warranted by her consistent reckless actions to begin with. That brilliant decision was made after “extensive consultations with medical personnel.” Translation: we were paid entirely too much money to keep someone this hot in the tank.
There’s an important lesson here for Americans: we live in a society where only materialism matters. Or, to say it in a more crass way: money talks and bullshit walks. We live in a broken society, enslaved to a broken system, where power is everything because it is absolute, and has therefore corrupted absolutely. Those on top of the food chain live well and free of consequences, and play games with the future of a country with half-witted decisions, while passing the price of their failures off to the rest of us.
I think it was Winston Churchill who said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others we’ve tried. I would like to say that I lose faith in our government daily, but in all honestly, I have no faith in them left to lose. I am consistently disappointed and disillusioned with each news broadcast. I am awakened every time I read international news about how poorly we are perceived by other nations, and I cannot help but think that their criticisms are solid.
Karen made an eloquent point during a conversation a few weeks ago that America is driven by pride. Moreover, by a complete absence of humility. Our ethics and moral structure has spiraled out of control, and we are seeing the beginning of what I fear will be a cataclysmic end. I can’t believe that it is beyond hope, however. I see glimmers of hope in the presidential debates as we begin to feel out the early stages of the next election. At least we’re consistently fed up with this catastrophe called the Bush administration, and more people want to change it than not. I’m not one that votes with allegiance to either political party, but I’m happy to see that both parties are beginning to realize that we have a lot to change. I’m hoping that this is a catalyst for improvement.
Or, at worst, at least it will be the lesser of the evils.