Of Corruptocrats and Men

It’s So Easy To Be Cynical

From Douglas E. Schoen at Forbes, a statement about how he feels we should feel.

The arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on charges of seeking to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat has been met with predictable outrage by newspaper and editorial writers around the country.

To be sure, what has appeared in the news has been shocking for those who are somewhat removed from the world of politics.  But while what Blagojevich did is undeniably beyond the pale, it is frankly much more common in the political world than anyone has been willing to acknowledge.

Can you say “cynical”?  I knew that you could.  I disagree that the kind of corruption that’s been exposed this week is “much more common in the politial world than anyone has been willing to acknowledge.”  Anyone?  I suspect that there we more than a few, upstanding, civic-minded voters who knew that Pres.-elect Obama was a part of the Chicago political machine, and some of them even knew what that meant, historically.

The Daley faction, with financial help from Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., helped elect John F. Kennedy to the office of President of the United States in the 1960 presidential election. The electoral votes from the state of Illinois, with nearly half its population located in Chicago-dominated Cook County, were a deciding factor in the win for Kennedy over Richard Nixon.

And in good faith, they voted for him anyway.  Those voters are not surprised today, but express a somewhat different feeling, something like: “That’s just the way it is.”

It’s a way of understanding that politics is always and forever dirty, (and boy, is this scandle an example of that) but that’s only because action requires real human beings.  Even if the actions being contemplated – building a road, for instance – are morally neutral or even good, human beings are flawed.  Very flawed.  We all have to deal with that, even as we struggle (like Blogojevich failed to do) to not compromise ourselves.

I appreciate more, now, how much bigger a struggle it is to actually do good in this world.

So if you’re feeling extra cynical today, I have this advice: “Be Wise As Serpents.” – Matthew 10:16

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2 Comments on “Of Corruptocrats and Men”

  1. Becky Says:

    North Dakota, Alaska, and Louisiana are all more corrupt than Illinois per capita. Illinois is #18:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-12-10-corruptstates_N.htm

  2. joe Says:

    The population of N. Dakota was 639,000 in 2006, estimated by the US Census Bureau, Becky. Illinois, the 5th largest state, was estimated to have a population of 12,900,000 at the same time. So that means that a relatively few corrupt people in ND have a relatively large impact on the per-capita numbers.

    It’s a statistical game. Please don’t fall for it, because that kind of analysis fails when you try to understand what’s happening there. Worse, Becky – it lets seriously guilty people off the hook.

    Recall the old bromide “Figures don’t lie, but liars can figure.”


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