To be “Fair and Balanced” in a way that a certain entertainment channel which fancies itself a news outlet will never be, I’d better add a little about the other side of the issue I raised with the Strong Man discussion: the corrupt insider.
Oh, there’s a bevy of those beauties, too. I can’t help but wonder how many more in our 220+ year history would pop up like stinkweeds if 24/7 “news” had been available from the days of the Continental Congress. I would imagine the political haymakers would wring the ringed fingers off their hands if we had that information. I have no doubt, though, that the information is out there. The hitch is that the scandal-mongers and –believers would have to read history. Let me repeat that.
They. Would. Have. To. Read. History.
And worse, they might have to face facts that conflict with pre-arranged and –dictated opinions.*
To the point, however: coming a little closer to our own time and less in what my students talk about as “once upon a time” history, the top 10 most corrupt politicians/insiders/liars [with party affiliation] according to the “Ten Most Corrupt Politicians” are:
William “Boss” Tweed [R]
Ray Blanton [R]
Budd Dwyer [R]
Edwin Edwards [D]
Spiro Agnew [R]
Carroll Hubbard [D]
George Ryan [R]
James Traficant [D]
“Duke” Cunningham [R]
Huey Long [D]
Almost an even split there. Leaders we elected who fell prey to the demons Greed, Pride and Power and broke our laws. Were their depravities known before they were elected? In many cases, yes, and they were still elected. Their constituents benefited enough from their legitimate efforts to turn a blind eye.
What probably amazes me most is that, after all these dastardly deeds, all this greed and illegality, we’re still here to point the finger at someone else we don’t like. The government and the law still stand. In all the above cases, the government and the law prevailed. We get to live our lives. We get to feel the more superior because we would “never” fall prey to such demons.
The point, I suppose, is that as a sovereign nation that was great in our beginnings, great in our times of crisis, and great now as always, we can survive a corrupt insider/liar. It’s part of the American genius to right the wrong and make the insider shape up and fly along the straight and narrow or go away.
We won’t get that if we vote in the Strong Man. That election would mean not a choice of how Americans live, but IF we Americans live.
*Reference the old saying, “Opinions are like aortas; they’re critical for living, but the question is, is it truly yours or one someone gave you?”
“Ten Most Corrupt Politicians.” http://www.realclearpolitics.com/lists/most_corrupt_politicians/boss-tweed.html