The Next Big Thing: CORRUPTION

English: President George W. Bush and Presiden...

President George W. Bush and President-elect Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office of the White House  Nov. 10, 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People are looking for a scapegoat, and for once they’re looking in the right place. Corruption in government.

The book that everyone is talking about, inside the beltway, at least, is “This Town,” by Mark Leibovich. Here’s a comment on the book by Fareed Zakaria:

“It’s a vivid, detailed picture of the country’s ruling elite, filled with tales of ruthless networking, fake friendships and a sensationalist media. But beneath the juicy anecdotes is a depressing message about corruption and dysfunction.” Continue reading

Democracy At A Crossroads

Photo by John Hayden

Photo by John Hayden

“If democracy deadlocks here, we raise doubts about democracy everywhere.”

Sen. John Kerry made that sobering comment during his farewell address to the U.S. Senate this week. He’s leaving the Senate to become the new U.S. secretary of state, America’s ambassador to the world.

I don’t know about the whole wide world, but I think we have good reason to be concerned about the state of democracy here in America.   Continue reading

How American Civilization Collapses

(NOTE: This post from November, 19, 2009, is getting hits at my other blog. We’re now entering the unchartered waters of 2013, so maybe it’s time to take another look. The post opens with an anecdote, and it takes a while to get to the point. I’ll add a troubling note at the end. — John)

When we talk about corruption, we think of big government and big business. But corruption pervades every aspect of American culture and society. It’s a rot and decay that threatens to destroy American civilization. We hardly notice anymore.

Here’s an example of the current American zeitgeist:  Driving from West Ocean City to Salisbury. In the rearview mirror, about a half-mile back on Route 50, is one of those big, modern ambulance vehicles.    Continue reading

The Real Scandal — Petty Corruption Destroys Institutions And Families

Do we care if Gen. David Petraeus’ ego is so big he has to have a personal biographer follow him around a war zone? Do we care if a smart, beautiful, and physically fit Harvard doctoral student “works her magic” on a general? Not really.

U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commande...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is it scandalous? Based on the definition of “scandal,” the answer is technically, “Yes.”

But realistically, matters of ego, ambition, and romance are simply “human.” It’s strictly a private matter.

Until it begins to corrode the quality of work being done by important institutions, such as the U.S. Military.

Petty corruption pervades modern society, from highest to lowest.    Continue reading

Oil, Water, Sin

What has gone wrong with the world? Good grief, where did we fail? How did we fall so far?

If I’m going to blog, I may as well try to tell the truth. There’s oil gushing from a hole in the bottom of the ocean floor. It’s a horror movie come true.

The mob screamed for government to get out of the way, free corporate capitalism to give us unimagined wealth. Now, the mob screams for government to do something. How ironic that the same people who fumed that Obama’s health care reform put us on the road to socialized medicine are now furious because Obama  won’t nationalize BP. Seems to me that Obama is doing a good job by keeping his head when all about him other people are losing their’s.


No oil in the water at my part of the Atlantic Ocean. Yet.


Oil keeps gushing, more and more every day. It’s washing up on the beaches. Government, save us. David Broder writes that the BP oil spill will be Barack Obama’s Iranian hostage crisis.  The President! Why doesn’t the president do something? Why won’t he send in the military? “Give us Barrabas!” This could come straight from the Bible, or from “Lord of the Flies.”  Get the president! He’s smart, he looks different, he doesn’t care.  He won’t stop the oil leak! “Crucify him!”

The nuns used to say that trouble in the world is the result of sinfulness, the cumulative worldwide weight of our small sins of omission and commission. Maybe the nuns were on to something. If so, I would trace our predicament to all our cumulative sins of greed. Or perhaps worship of false idols.

Now, it is common to talk of corruption, not sin. Corruption in government, corruption in business, corruption in bureaucracy. Government, business and bureaucracy, of course, are made up of individual human beings. Right now, the blame police are examining every omission and commission associated with the oil spill, in an effort to name the sins, or to expose a culture of corruption in BP and government agencies.

(While we ponder corruption and sin, I think we should also remember that possibly it is not sin or corruption, but human mistakes, unintended errors of omission and commission. I would even suggest one last, unlikely possibility, that the oil spill is an accident or an act of nature that was unpreventable.)

In the case of government dysfunction, my neighbor at Lost On The Shore suggests we are all responsible:

“You see, we either want things that are opposite of each other, or things that are impossible or we don’t know what we want . . .

Our politicians can’t solve our problems for us because we want it both ways and we don’t want to compromise.”

I agree with his analysis. We want too much, or we want what we cannot have.  I hope  we repent and change. We can reform our values. We can change the way we live. We can, if we have the will, refuse to tolerate corruption. We should do it for ourselves, and for our children and grandchildren.

— John Hayden