We Get the Leaders We Deserve (and it’s Our Own Damn Fault)
“Everyone does it.”
“All politicians are corrupt.”
We keep hearing this broken record over and over and over and over and over and over and over. It’s getting tiresome. I’m sick of it.
Please. Stop it. Justifying the wrongdoing of people in positions of trust and power allegedly because “everybody does it” doesn’t change the fact it’s WRONG. Punishment is warranted. Actions have consequences. If actions don’t have consequences, well then, we’re all pretty much fucked. We might be fucked anyway.
When we dismiss the crimes and corruption of those who are lying and stealing, WE become the victims. When we no longer care, or we start believing that grift and dishonesty are normal, and even expected, representative democracy is done. They don’t just steal money. They are stealing our trust, our faith, and destroying our reliance on each other.
Let me also point out that everybody does NOT do it. All politicians are NOT corrupt. NOT everybody lies. Sure, there some wickedly dishonest people. But they’re much more likely to be running a shady businesses or linked to a corporation than be serving in government. In fact, most civil servants and elected officials enter government or run for office because of a higher calling. They want to make their communities better, and they aren’t going to get rich putting in all the extra hours. I know this firsthand. I’ve worked in local politics. I’ve worked on Capitol Hill. I’ve worked in political campaigns — for both Republicans and Democrats. I’ve worked in the foreign service. I’ve known judges. I’ve been all over the country and seen mostly good people trying to do the right thing, or at least what they believe in. So please, stop maligning public service as inherently corrupt. It is not corrupt, so long as we watch them closely and we care.
Cynicism is easy. Trust is hard. It’s even harder to win back trust once it’s been violated. And that’s the way it should be.
If millions of Americans believe corruption and dishonesty are “normal,” and they do nothing about it other than to toss the latest scandal onto the scrapheap of apathy, then the system will not work. Waste, stealing, lying, and corruption will continue and will get worse. And that’s precisely what we will deserve for our collective indifference.
If you don’t prosecute sedition, it becomes strategy. If you don’t expose bribery, it becomes procedure. If you don’t protest fraud, it becomes policy. If you don’t call out lies, they become truth.
Everybody does it? Quit saying that. And, please quit believing it.
Any problem created by people — can be solved by people. Any problem created by people — can be solved by people, working together and caring.