Here's a quote from "our president " a few days after the horror of 9/11. "First, we must always maintain the highest ethical standards. We must always ask ourselves not only what is legal, but what is right. There is no goal of government worth accomplishing if it cannot be accomplished with integrity. "
Whaaaaa??? One more time, just to be sure we're getting this. "There is no goal of government worth accomplishing if it cannot be accomplished with integrity. "
Wow. Glad we're clear on that. If we look at anything this administration has done over the last five years, what we see is just the opposite. Have we ever had a president more disingenuous? More inclined toward dissembling? More perverse in his addiction to money and power?
And that describes temperament, not what they've done to our wonderful country. That list is far longer, with consequences we won't fully appreciate for years to come. Ignoring global warming, creating a financial crisis, Iraq, increased poverty, dwindling social services ... a comprehensive list could stretch to the moon (or maybe Mars).
The good news, for our country and the world, is that the tide is turning. As forward thinking people have noted, "You can run but you can't hide " is becoming ever more accurate in our maturing information age.
This Internet thing is the elephant in the room. Its constant transmutation and young age make predicting the Web's impact almost impossible. But already we see greater transparency being forced on our political and economic leaders, though it comes with them kicking and screaming.
This administration has been getting some lessons lately. You can't turn fear-mongering on and off (UAE and the ports deal). You can't lie on tape (numerous examples). You can't fool all the people all the time ( Iraq , Katrina response, etc). And, you can't be a complete tool without people starting to notice, sooner or later.
Here's the thing. You can't just talk integrity, you have to walk it. It has clear markings. Like, oh say, honesty. Like, maybe, transparency. In fact, we could say it's a simple formula. Integrity = Honesty + Transparency.
What if we apply this formula to the current administration? They get an "F. " And congress is equally guilty, exposed by their legislation (bankruptcy bill, etc.) and their current failure to enact real ethics reform.
There is little question to fans of democracy that transparency is inherently healthier than secrecy. Indeed, democracy depends on an educated populace, and education depends on information. (This contrasts with the current tactic of "repetition ad nauseum " to create "truthiness, " so popular with pundits and officials.)
Bear with me as we flip this to a personal context. Within the wide range of human interpretation of the world and our varied responses to it, two main paradigms emerge the open personality and the closed personality types. Further, these are based on different interpretations of the world. We see the world as primarily engaging, and we engage. Or we see the world as primarily hostile, and we hide who we are for fear of attack, lack of acceptance, etc. This second type demands control, fearing the consequences of being open. Now back to this administration and congress.
They very much exhibit the behavior of the fearful, closed personality type. Their predilection toward secrecy, manipulating stories, personal attacks and disinformation is a very clear pattern. And a very unhealthy one.
The rationalization for withholding information is inevitably based on "national security " or "terrorism " concerns. And that seems to make sense. It's an argument used repeatedly, and seems unassailable. And yet with this crew it's been used to justify secret energy policy discussions, no bid deals with Halliburton, hearings on Justice Alito, Big Pharma writing healthcare legislation, Abu Ghraib, warrantless wiretapping, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Even with national security issues, how the hell can "terrorists " glean an advantage from knowing very general information like a timeline for troops leaving Iraq or the knowledge that our government is seeking information on terrorist activities (duh). It's a smokescreen, used over and over by this administration. The public response to the UAE port deal should come as no surprise to those so inclined toward fear-mongering.
2006 has the auspices of a groundbreaking year, as we watch these Denizens of Corruption revealed more and more in the light of truth. This may be the year where lying and secrecy are finally understood to be the failed strategies of a bygone era.