I’m not quite sure when things in our society went so askew. Maybe I’m just getting old, but it seems that as of late, we have shifted our scale or what is right and wrong to fit whatever moment we are in. There seems to be no absolutes anymore. And that is scary.
When I was a kid, I remember going with my mom to the Market Basket in the Renton Highlands. As she labored over her choice of fish on a Friday, I roamed the aisles. At the end of one was a barrel of peanuts. I can still remember to this day, taking a single peanut from that barrel with the plan to steal it.
It was then that my brother Brian clocked me upside the head and told me that it was a sin to steal.
Now, I am no saint. I have my share of transgressions, but even to this day, I think I have a fairly well-developed sense of what is right and wrong. Part of this is because I have finally grown up, part is because I work for the State of Washington which has a very unforgiving Ethics Board.
You see, I am ever under their watchful eye. I can’t even have a vendor buy me a latte without breaking the law and facing a hefty fine or even dismissal. There are so many potential transgressions that I don’t even think the head of the Ethics Board knows them all.
My point here is that public officials are held to a higher standard than the general public. They always have been, they always should be. After all, they are spending your money. They are custodians and advocates of your will as taxpayers. They ultimately serve at your whim, and the decisions they make greatly affect your life, livelihoods and freedoms.
I’m sure you’re all nodding your head thinking, well, this is as it should be.
But somewhere along the way, we don’t apply any of our own values or standards of truth and honesty to those elected to state or federal office. We instead use a strange sliding scale of what is right and wrong, what is fact and what is fiction, and what is just and unjust.
I’m not exactly sure where we decided to allow such nonsense. Now, before one side of the political coin gets uppity, this isn’t about the guy in the White House. It is about some of his staff, like now former EPA Chief Pruitt, who was robbing the taxpayers blind. In just one famous instance, he ordered 12 customized pens with his signature engraved on them for $1,560. That’s $130 a pen, folks. And it’s your money he was spending.
And yet, no one seems outraged about it. Sure, there were some news stories. But no real public rage and, of course, no ethics violations or fines.
Yes, Pruitt eventually left, as have dozens of others who have come and gone in the past year and a half. This is one of the problems of bringing business executives into government. Government has a whole set of different rules because you’re playing with taxpayer money. There is and should be accountability.
We should all be incredulous about the other things going on in our government. A week or so ago, seven senators from the Appropriations Committee traveled to Moscow to have a meeting with the Russians. Why? I might be able to understand the Foreign Relations Committee, but the committee that is in charge of spending our money?
And then there’s the dismissal by high-level government officials about the latest round of indictments of Russians who seem to have meddled in the 2016 elections. Leaving politics aside for a moment, please realize that this hacking is going on regularly. I run a single state website and it endures thousands of hacking episodes a week by the Russians and other countries in its sphere of influence. They are prodding and poking, trying to find their way into other state servers.
This isn’t fake news, folks. I see this in my job. And yet, there are immediate dismissals that these are witch hunts. Well, they’re not, not in my world. And anyone who thinks this is not important, or worse, fake news, is a complete dolt, an imbecile of the first orders.
In the old days, these hackers, these spies, would have been rounded up and given a timeout in the electric chair under they were well done. These are crimes against our country of the highest order. It is sabotage. These forces are seeking to disrupt our government, steal sensitive files and cover the trail up with more lies and deceit.
And yet, no one seems to care a bit about all these antics. We have lost our morality as a country. Right and wrong are fluid now. We let politicians who are on the take, bought and paid for by special interests, twist us in the wind. And we fall for the old bait and switch, turning on one another because of our political or religious beliefs while these guys laugh all the way to the bank.
It’s time for us all to reclaim what has made this country great. We need to force politicians to be accountable for what they say. We need to point out when they are lying. We need to vote them out of office when they don’t represent our will. We need to stop letting all these jokers, from the lame-ass local mayor to the President of the United States, sell out what America stands for.
America will never be great again if we don’t decide that the truth matters, that facts matter, that decency matters, and that liars, cheats and swindlers, regardless of their position or power, need to be sent packing. They need to be told loud and clear that we’re not buying their snake oil any longer, that we are on to their games, that we know they seek to divide us so they can continue to rape our coffers, and eliminate the rapidly shrinking middle class so there are just two classes – the lord and the servants.
We must remember that, for the moment, we are still in charge. Forget about the petty differences of politics and remember that you and I are the United States. We are the government. We need to put away social media and selfies for a while and take our country back from the guys who are purposely stealing us blind – the Koch Brothers, special interests, big business and all the lobbyists who are slipping money – our money – into pockets and under doors like there’s no tomorrow.
Well, there will be no tomorrow if we continue to choose to turn a blind eye to all this corruption. If we do, we will only have ourselves to blame when our last freedoms are usurped and outlawed by the people who supposedly represent us. I think Thomas Jefferson said we needed a revolution every 20 years in this country. Obviously, we are long overdue.
In the Emerald City, wondering why we are all giving up so easily and so willingly to these robberbarons,