Before you read much further, be warned that I am in my bully pulpit and I will be addressing current issues that make me cry, make my blood boil and distress me. It reduces the argument down to why?: why can we not, humans all, treat one another with respect? why can we advance technologically to such amazing heights and wallow so low in isms; bullyism, racism, misogyny, religious intolerance, sexism, prejudice, discrimination, xenophobia, ageism, classism, to name some base tendencies of men and women.
Is mankind a paradox, a species that is admirably intelligent, yet woefully ignorant? Are we paying forward a morally bankrupt society, generation after generation?
Of course, I am referring to politics, that governing body of people that enact laws and policies for the good of the majority. In reality, politics is divisive and more of competitive game, with the winners hoarding the swag. Global politics is a reflection of our humanity and the picture is not pretty; the most corrupt countries are also the most violent, and the worst violators of human rights.
A common theme is that the leaders do not have the best interests of constituents in governance, but the means to pilfer personal wealth through the power of political office. One major recurring theme throughout despotic, authoritarian rule is a lack of transparency in the government that allows for corruption. If the president, or the executive leadership, does not have to answer to a legislative or judicial body, then he/she has sole and unilateral authority to do whatever he/she chooses to do, which usually bears out the Machiavellian principles, especially, “all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.
Accountability. Transparency. Verification. That is why we need the media, the bull dogs that chase after facts and dig up deception; why we need voices in the government that call out politicians, of either party; men, women and children who protest with marches, signs, and editorials; and concerned citizens who demand answers in town hall from local politicians. That is why we vote and make our ballots count—so that the United States does not make the list of the most corrupted countries—(according to an article in 24/7 Wall St., by Evan Comen and Thomas C. Frohlich) the top ten being:
tied for 10. Venezuela and Iraq
3. North Korea
2. South Sudan
That is why we have judicial and legislative branches of the government to check and balance the executive branch. While you may not agree with Sally Yates, former United States Attorney, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsberg Bader, Governors Jerry Brown (California), Andrew Cuomo (New York), Jay Inslee (Washington), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, (D-New York), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, and Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Judge James Robart, steelworkers officical, Chuck Jones, or 5 million protestors, this is what makes a strong representative government—the voices of the people. The voices that call out the mis-leaders, the misguided, the bullies, the misogynists, should not and cannot be silenced. The international leaders, President Enrique Pena Nieto (Mexico), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Canada) have made it clear that immigration is not a concept, but a verb, and what it means to be real people with real lives in the real world.
It is vital in our government and in our lives that we demand accountability. Our leaders on the national and local levels need to know that citizens expect and demand truthful information from government officials and reasonable standards of behavior towards everyone. In our schools, families and social groups, we have to address and redress and stay on the issues of bullying, racism, intolerance of religious beliefs. We must demand the best of our political leaders, and be examples of accountability for our actions to our children, in their lives and schools and playgrounds.
We as citizens need to be responsible to our government, and our government needs to be responsible to its citizens; we need to be responsible parents so that the next governing body is a generation of responsible leaders. And we must not forget that we are all global citizens, all of us are responsible to take care of the earth and each other. It is easy to forget, to think that we are not connected to one another; we have different ethnicities, religions, partisanships, tastes, ideas, needs, fashion styles that make drawing lines of separation seem the imperative.
But what if we, each one of us, made a conscientious choice to become a member of a global tribe, and work for the good of humanity? Would that just be a fool’s dream?—-that everyone, the rich, the homeless, the poor, the mentally challenged, the immigrant, the native, is entitled to respect, consideration and basics needs met? Each one of us can do one small act of kindness, one moment of introspection, ask one question “Am I the only one that matters?” and project that a billion times and listen, wait and hope for positive changes in ourselves, those around us and our world.