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Mary Pitt: A Failure Of Ethics

A Failure Of Ethics


by Mary Pitt

The United States House of Representatives has further embarassed them selves in the eyes of history as they leave the door open for the eventual rescue of House Whip Tom DeLay who is fighting criminal charges in his home state of Texas. First, this man is the poster boy for the political party that won, not only the Presidency, but a majority in both houses of Congress on a platform of moral, Christian behavior! You remember, one man, one woman, one marriage, (at a time?), and absolutely no "domestic contract" whatever for gay couples, ( who should be locked up until they could be persuaded to find the Lord and "reform"). However, despite their protestations and professions of adherence to "Christian principles" and "moral values", the behavior we see is quite the opposite as they jockey for position and power which may or may not be to the advantage of the national interest.

One is led to question whether anyone can get to be elected to any national office without flouting popular standards of "ethics". In order to reach those heights, one has already compromised any thought of clinging to one's own ideals in opposition to the "party line" or of telling prospective campaign contributors that their request for "influence" in the face of potential damage to the nation as a whole would be counter-productive. Anyone with that level of personal conviction is not and will not be found in those hallowed halls. If one should beat the odds and gain such a position, the chances are very good that his plane would suddenly crash, regardless of the fact that it is in fine condition, flown by an expert pilot in a cloudless sky, or that he would become despondent and commit suicide by shooting himself in the head three times. Such nonsense can be fatal in government.

Telling the whole truth is another "fatal error" in a "Representative of the People". The particulars of the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing, termed "bipartisan compromise" by the cogniscenti, are never disclosed, but eagerly advocated by both sides once they have decided who gives whom what advantage in other matters. They are now little more than a group of used car salesmen, playing the game of one-upmanship to see who can get the better of the other and then turn that advantage into a larger campaign "war chest". As the result, we find that campaign promises become null and void as soon as the votes are counted, no nation in the world will accept our word for the enforceablity of treaties or trust our behavior in coalitions, and our nation has lost credibility in every corner of the world.

Our electoral system must bear the blame for the current situation. The "people" do not choose the candidates for office at any level. This decision is made by the bosses of their respective parties based on their previous history of "towing the party line", their earnest appearance, and their ability to effectively dissemble to their constituency. The American citizens prefer to cling to the idea that these are community leaders who are so patriotic that they are willing to leave their productive positions and devote a few years in service to their neighbors and their nation. This has not been the case for a very long time. They are professional politicians and have no ambition to do anything else. Once elected, they run for ever higher office until the people tire of them and turn them out or until they get a sufficiently lucrative offer from private enterprise where they can peddle the influence they accumulated during their years of "service". Those who may have been successful in one career but aspire to public office are quite likely there with an agenda to gain an advantage for their former profession so they can profit if and when they choose to return to their practice.

Mr. DeLay is now engaged in the masterful tactic of co-opting the plight of the family of one very unfortunate lady who has for years lingered between life and death by loosing the religious radical right upon the nation and the media. He has even gone so far as to imply that the struggle over her fate is a part of a larger plot to "get Tom DeLay"! Meanwhile Senator and Doctor Bill Frist is diagnosing Ms. Schiavo's condition without so much as ever having met her, based on a brief and edited video-tape presented by those who are trying to cause her to linger even longer than the 15 years she has remained in this state. Other senators and representatives are more than willing to hypothesize on her plight in exchange for additional "face time" on television while matters of much greater import to the welfare of the nation go un-discussed and neglected.

Our Social Security system is being threatened, not by financial fact but by Republican hyperbole; already-insufficient funding for education is to be cut by the president's new budget; Medicaid is to be reduced despite the fact that no less than 18,000 people have died in the past year due to not being able to afford medical care; housing and transportation asiistance is being cut. All this is necessary, we are told, in order to keep the immense tax cuts for the rich while paying for the ever-spreading Oil Wars in the Middle East.

Are the American people so brain-dead that they can now accept behavior that once would have led to impeachment of Federal officials so long as their own pet prejudices are pampered? Do we really care any more about The Union? Will we let our nation as it was created and as it has grown and prospered to be swept away on behalf of the personal ambitions of a few manipulative individuals who would reduce our citizens to a "common denominator"? Or will we have the guts and determination to stand up as a free and independent people, throw out the crooks, and demand the restoration of respect for our laws and our Constitution? If we do not take our country back, it will be because we no longer deserve the privileges that we have come to take for granted. We will go into the history books as a modern-day Rome, destroyed by our own selfishness and corruption. If we do not, NOW, re-codify our system of accountability and personal ethics in those who seek to be our leaders, the necrotization of our democratic society will be complete and we will be left with only ourselves to blame.

*************

Mary Pitt is a septuagenarian Kansan who is self-employed and active in the political arena. Her concerns are her four-generation family and the continuance of the United States as a democracy with a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people". Comments and criticism may be addressed to mpitt@cox.net .

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