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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

"Corruption" Defined as "What Others Do"

Herb Jackson is definitely on to something. It's something so big that, apparently, most people can't see it.

You see, something is rotten in the Garden State - and it ain't the vegetables. It starts at Drumthwacket and ends all the way down at the sorry sotted roots of government in our counties and cities. It's "corruption" - as long as it's someone else doing it. Congressman Bob Menendez once took down a big political boss because of it - then he turned into the same kind of boss he got rid of. I've heard many complaints about Jon Corzine and Doug Forrester both handing out cash to buy-off county chairs. It's only bad if someone else does it, though.

Wikipedia has a good article on political corruption. I plan to use it as a template for exploring exactly how well New Jersey fits as the mold for political corruption. It's not just the people in the government - though that's part of it to be sure. It's the whole system. I'm sure Mr. Menendez looks in the mirror and sees the very same champion of people's rights that took down a corrupt mentor. I'm just not so sure that's what his district gets.

I want to make it clear, though, that corrupt politicians are usually very popular. If they weren't; then they'd never win re-election. In some ways, a political machine makes a politician incredibly responsive to his or her constituents - it's just that you have to pay a price for that responsiveness. Political corruption hurts because it forces people to pay a premium for what should be basic political services.

It bothers me, both as a patriotic American - and that doesn't mean the blind-love crazy kind - and as a Christian. America is built on the dream that all men are equal before the law - without the threat of some being more equal than others. It runs afoul of the Christian notion of leadership being built on service to mankind.

It stinks. This Garden needs some sunlight.

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