Harry's Gang: Leaders need to be accountable
September 29, 2023
I’m disturbed by the attorney general in Texas. Recently, he was acquitted by the Texas legislature on corruption charges, even though every Texan who cares knows the man is corrupt.
In fact, even the legislature who declined to convict him knows he’s guilty. So why did they acquit?
Then, New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat, was indicted (again!) on corruption charges, and while a good number of his fellow party members are encouraging him to resign, his reaction has been to blame politics for his indictments and vows to carry on.
We are rapidly becoming a nation of politics, not a nation of laws. At some point, politics became more important than governing. We used to elect politicians to take care of the government, but now we elect politicians to ensure the success of the political parties. That’s bad.
The enemy is no longer our adversaries, who have their reasons for trying to thwart America and all its amazing successes. No, the enemy is now ourselves — not our side, of course, just the other side. Our Side is the one that is Saving America. The Other Side is the one destroying it.
Of course, that’s not true. That’s just the propaganda that is spewed out, to reinforce the idea that one political party is better than the other. No one is trying to destroy America. Yet, by resorting to hyperbole and wild accusations, that’s exactly what is happening. It won’t be long before we lose our democracy and respect for the law, if we continue on this path.
Balance seems to be missing. An opinion on one issue suddenly becomes wrong when the other side agrees with it. No one is slightly mistaken anymore — they “couldn’t be more wrong.” Hyperbole rules.
One example jumps out at me lately, although there are many, many more. The first is the allegation of “open borders.” That’s just wrong: the borders are not open. Not even close. There is an active, aggressive border patrol and immigration agency in our country, and they are doing an intense job. We do have a problem with immigration at the southern border; it’s a problem that has persisted for many years, through many different administrations, and hasn’t been resolved by several different Congresses, both Republican and Democrat. Yet, the attack works, because it’s easier to criticize a leader than it is to offer solutions. But even worse, now the critics no longer want a solution, because if the problem is fixed, they won’t be able to attack the other side.
It’s like blaming Roger Maki for that pothole on 15th Street. Our mayor is not responsible for fixing potholes. He’s responsible for leading the City Council, which oversees an excellent public works department that does an amazing job fixing potholes. Potholes are a result of living in a harsh climate. Thank goodness the national attitude of attack and blame hasn’t affected us locally … yet. But it might.
The attorney general in Texas and the senator in New Jersey should both resign. But neither will. It’s become more important to keep the party in power than it is to execute justice. My brother once told me that our democracy is held together by the idea that the other guy will obey the law and stop at the stoplight when it’s red. There’s a certain amount of respect for the law in America. How many times have you been stopped at a red light, there are no other cars around, yet you still stop until the light turns green? It happens to me all the time, especially on Cloquet Avenue at 10th Street. But I respect the law. I stop until the light is green.
I am hoping for brave leadership who are willing to stand on the principles of respect for the law and appropriate repercussions for those who won’t follow the law. But I fear that is not the direction we are headed.