Tuesday, March 22, 2005



TODAY Newspaper

It is so tiring and gives one the feeling that we are hopelessly mired in the muck of corruption when we read the daily newspapers. Every day we are given a list of misbehaviors by people in and out of government. And, in truth, if corruption exists in government, it does so with the cooperation of us citizens who feed into the evils of dishonesty of every kind.

Elizabeth Manners in her book The Vulnerable Generation writes, "Past civilizations have been destroyed by barbarians from without, but we are doing the job ourselves. We breed our own barbarians at the public expense, and our writers and newsmen faithfully chronicle their moral rottenness and hold it up for admiration."

I once asked a newspaper publisher why he did not follow up stories about graft and corruption. Why did they fade so quickly from the pages of his paper? "Because," he said, "new stories of corruption crowd out the old ones. There are just too many to follow up."

Yet, why are we as members of this society so tolerant of the blatant dishonesty in our midst? Is it perhaps because we have become so used to it that our sense of moral outrage has been numbed over time by the deluge of corrupt practices that we witness? Like anything else, we can get used to dishonesty too.

"‘The rottenness of others is in us too,’ I continued to preach to him. ‘I see no other solution, I really see no other solution than to turn inwards and to root out all rottenness there. I no longer believe we can change anything in the world until we have first changed ourselves.’" (Etty Hillesum, A Diary)

We have met the enemy and he is us. The corruption in our midst is a reflection of us as a nation. We elect our leaders and we keep them there. They serve at our request. We the people delegate to them through our votes the power to rule us. This is how a democracy should work. If we are not happy or satisfied, then we have the votes to remove them. We obviously have not. Is it because we have neglected to do so, or is it that we cannot find enough honest men and women in our midst to choose from?

The words of Martin Luther King are appropriate in our times. "When evil men plot," he said, "good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love. Where evil men seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice."

Unless we are willing to give the day over to those evil ones who pillage and loot our national patrimony, we need to stand up and do something. And, honestly, I’m not sure what to do. All I know is that something has to be done. Lewis Mumford tells us what will happen if we don’t.

"The good…is that which furthers growth, integration, transcendence, and renewal. Evil, by contrast, is that which brings about disintegration and de-building, arrests growth, creates a permanent unbalance, dissipates energy, degrades life, baffles and frustrates the spirit, and prevents the emergence of the divine."


Post a Comment

<< Home