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posted: 12/18/2013 4:40 AM

What really corrupts politicians is power

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What really corrupts politicians is power

The Dec. 1 front page article on trust had many good points. However, I believe it skipped over the most important.

We, in Illinois, are all familiar with the "Chicago Way." We have seen it in action in the urban morass on the shores of Lake Michigan. We have seen it in action in the hinterland of "Madiganistan." We have seen it transported to that bastion of our republic on the banks of the Potomac. Everywhere it occurs, it has similar characteristics. One of these is arrogance. Another is a lack of accountability. Still another is a lack of being held responsible for ones actions.

We tend to think that this disease is not local. Not true. It may not be as pervasive or as dangerous as it is at the "upper" levels of government, but it exists. When a normal, likable, honest person becomes a government employee at any level and they become aware that they will not be held accountable for anything they do, something happens. They realize that they have power.

Favoritism becomes the norm, as does the power to control or coerce, as in bullying. It is a rare person that does not succumb to the dominance that goes with being in this position.

Each election, people run for office and promise to get rid of this type of behavior. They get our votes because they indicate a willingness to remedy the problem. After they win, what happens? Usually nothing, because they buy into and become a part of it.

How do we solve this? Term limits? Restricting how long a person can work for a particular branch of government? Pay, pension and double-dipping limits?

We have much to do to re-enfranchise the average citizen and to normalize our ruling class. How do we do it?

Bob Johnson


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