As a boy, growing up in Southern Illinois, my parents taught me to have respect for those in authority. I was to treat policeman, fireman, teachers and my elders with a higher level of respect because they had earned it through their actions and deeds.

I’m not sure how well that philosophy plays in the minds of today’s youth who are growing up in my former home state after watching five governors sentenced to prison. How did we stray so far from the morals and ethics of those earlier days?

Scandals Are Nothing New

There is an old saying, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Someone trying to buck the system, for his or her own benefit, has tainted nearly every presidential administration in one-way or another. If it wasn’t the person at the top of the food chain, is was someone further down, that weakened the trunk enough to bring the whole tree crashing to earth.

Scandals Transcend Party Politics

Scandals are not particular to political parties. Nixon, Reagan, Kennedy, and Clinton are just a few of our current leaders who have had front-page accusations hurled at them for a variety of transgressions.

So when we look at the scandals of today, Benghazi, Associated Press, IRS, and now Verizon, it’s almost like politics as usual.  But when these stories hit the front pages do we dismiss the action and direct our anger at a party rather than looking for the underlying causes? And what is that underlying cause? In my opinion it’s the abuse of power. “I’ll do it because I can — and chances are good I can get away with it.”

Are You Affected?

We are all affected by the actions of governments — both local and federal. Laws and regulations reflect how society is managed. Our leaders are supposed to weigh the outcome of those laws and work toward making America a better place for everyone— not just political donors.

When politics replace patriotism, America suffers. Our leaders are not authorized to use the power we have given them for political or financial gain. No one is going to be completely satisfied with every law our legislators pass. And laws for the good of one are not necessarily for the good of all.

How Will You Process These Current Events?

Are you going to think twice before you make a phone call? Will a bead of sweat run down your brow as you sign your next tax return? Does it give you pause that some judge gave the OK to examine phone records for every citizen? Where does the gathering of information begin and end in today’s Big Brother environment? Is anything private in your life? By allowing our protections to be eroded, little-by-little, have we self-repealed the fourth amendment?

Some Final Thoughts

The only redeeming social value to come from all these recent events is, they all came from whistleblowers. They came from citizens like you and me within the system who said, “Ya know what? This is WRONG and I’m going to tell someone.”

So my final though on this subject is this. It’s up to you and I to make a difference. It’s up to us to plot the direction of this county. It’s up to us to stop with the special interests, political vote buying, and get back to making this the kind of country that we’ll be proud to present to the next generation. There isn’t enough wrapping paper and colorful bows in the world to make the current present look good to anyone. Let’s fix it.

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