Tuesday, May 02, 2017

What Was It For?

"The use of public office for private gain is the textbook definition of corruption," begins the Rolling Stone article, which goes on to say:

"In only 100 days, Trump has upended the country's anti-corruption norms by numbing everyone with a steady stream of serious improprieties that would have been treated as major scandals – if not impeachable offenses – during any other modern presidency."

The article calls it "corruption fatigue," a mind-boggling concept after barely more than three months.  But it's more than that.  The Americans who voted for this regime knew what they were voting for.  They knew they were voting for this kind of corruption, though perhaps not on this scale.

It speaks also to the steady erosion since Reagan of the distinction between public and private institutions, functions and funds.

That perhaps is why, while the big dailies and other major media report on it, they don't often call it "corruption."

So far, only publications like salon, the New Republic, and Mother Jones, plus columnists like Jonathan Chiat will use the word.

It's a potent word, or it used to be.  It has always been the greatest political sin.

Moreover this brazen corruption in the White House is accompanied by the regime's efforts to weaken anti-corruption and ethical standards laws and enforcement.

It includes as well the raiding of the federal treasury (current and, through tax schemes, future) by the super-rich, most directly rewarding those who specifically supported the regime and the Republican Party.  It can be more generally applied to the raiding of the ultimate commons, the Earth.

Given all the other catastrophes underway, and the relentless mind-numbing outrages blasting through the media from the White House, this may seem low on the list of priorities.  But, as playwright David Hare asked in a related context, "If democracy didn't care to defend what was owned in common, what was it for?"

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