I deplore the new chant: “Investigate the investigators”. It implies that whenever people find something critical of the president, even if voluminously documented, it could only be because they were politically motivated. In short, they were corrupt.
That’s a reverberating theme now from our administration: all people are corrupt. A judge rules against Trump? He can’t rule fairly because of his national heritage: corrupt. Another politician vies with or disagrees with him? Crooked. Someone repeats an accusation against an ally? Must be a pawn of political foes: corrupt. His formerly lauded lawyer admits to wrongdoing with him? Now he’s a liar and corrupt. Indictments against advisers, closing down his trust, pointing out his business failures: unfair lies by corrupt opponents.
The other current tactic to avoid responsibility is itself logically corrupt. Accused of any wrongdoing? Deflect. What about (Hillary or Bill) Clinton? What about Obama? What about Satan?
The implication: I’m allowed to be corrupt, because everyone is.
Ironically, one of the main messages the Russian trolls were trying to propagate was that democracy doesn’t work because everyone is corrupt. Bannon, too, embraces this canard.
Only, it isn’t true. Most Americans aren’t corrupt. Virtually all of our government employees are dedicated to the goals of good government, not to any party or kingpin; they work hard because they want to better our society, not themselves. The vast majority of Americans do have a moral compass.
They don’t glibly lie, or steal, or pervert our institutions. Democracy can work here.
Even if you assume (which is a far cry from proving) that Clinton (choose either) or Obama did something equally nefarious, it doesn’t excuse current dirty conduct. It isn’t even unfair when people condemn it.
One can’t gain a right to be corrupt by preaching that others are corrupt; it’s just a sorry excuse. Imagine the lack of virtue if one’s “go-to” argument is that he smells only as bad as the people he denigrates as garbage.
If it’s wrong, it’s wrong.
Call it like it is. If someone lies: it’s a lie. If a politician misrepresents: it’s deceit. If a president demands others do wrong, he’s corrupt. If you’re greedy, you’re immoral even if others remain richer than you. A slanderer is a heel, not a hero. People who harm the environment have no aloha ‘aina, even if someone gains a profit from the despoilation. A bully is a brat, not a leader. Inflicting unnecessary misery or fear is cruelty, not strength.
Don’t let the current political claptrap rob you of all sense of honesty and rectitude! Integrity does matter.
Jed Somit is a Kapaa resident.