Charles Rangel, Maxine Waters, Chris Dodd, Kent Conrad, Sam Graves and Laura Richardson; quick what do these names have in common? You guessed it, they are all congressmen recently accused of ethics violations. But guess what else they all have in common? They are all still in office, along with Tim Geithner, the Secretary of Treasury who seems to not know how pay taxes and Attorney General Eric Holder who according to his own staff dismisses voter intimidation cases based on race.
Do you want a stomach turning read? Visit http://www.congressionalbadboys.com/ and see if your Senator or Representative is listed there. We all know that DC is a corrupt place but it’s a little stunning to see just how bad it really can be. The worst part is that many of these people are elected repeatedly, returning to the scene of the crime for one term after another.
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that the Capital is a ‘wretched hive of scum and villainy.’ But in the same breath they’ll tell you can’t do anything about it, it’s just the way things are. Why do we accept such criminal behavior from our elected officials, all of whom took an oath to uphold and defend our Constitution? Why do we shrug our shoulders and roll our eyes when Charles Rangel gets a finger wagging for tax evasion that would have landed you or I in prison?
When I moved out to the Midwest from the coast, I made a discovery. Weather works different when there is no ocean nearby. The ocean acts as a temperature stabilizer, keeping the temperatures from rapidly soaring from one extreme to another. Out here the Midwest it is not unheard of for there to be a 40 degree change in less than a few hours. When you are used to 90 degree weather, 50 degrees feels like the dead of winter. But 50 degrees, after a day or two of 60 degrees, barely feels chilly because we are use to it.
We have to be careful what we get used to. When corrupt politics feels normal to us, we invite corrupt politicians. The acceptable levels of corruption gave us Obamacare. It would have never passed without bought votes and less than veiled threats. And we let it happen. Yes we moaned about it, but what did we do about it? When our elected official crossed the line and accepted a bribe to vote for Obamacare did we call him back to his state and read him the riot act? Did we threaten to remove him from office and throw him in jail? No, we just whined and moaned.
There was a time in America we would run a corrupt politician out of town, maybe even throw in a little tar and feathers for free. Politicians knew where to draw the line because they knew where their constituents drew the line. We have corruption because we accept corruption.
Until our reaction to ethics violations is instant and harsh we will have a Congress that refuses to play by the same rules we do. Congress will only be as criminal as we let them.