Loss of Confidence: Power, Scandal, & Corruption

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

The recent rounds of scandals should be a reminder to all Americans how power corrupts. For the most part, I’ve always objected to Baron Acton’s famous quote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

This phrase has always left me perplexed. How does a person changes because of the acquisition of power?

I don’t know how to answer this question because I’ve always believed a decent person that is well grounded will not be corrupted. Instead of blaming power, I blame the person. Power corrupts those who are not ready to possess it. Good people and bad people are separated by their readiness to wield power.

The three scandals we see playing out are evidence of the current administration’s inability to hold authority.

As a journalism student, I’m appalled by the AP wiretap. The natural reaction of a government official or agency is to claim national security. This claim is spurious at best. If that’s the case, then other–more acceptable means–could have been employed. This is a direct assault the press.

In my opinion this should not be allowed to stand. Several people need to be held to account; nothing short of jail time should result from this first amendment assault on the media.

The IRS scandal is troubling on so many fronts. I find it hard to imagine Americans using the awesome power of the IRS against fellow citizens, but that appears to be what happened. The idea that employees of this institution targeted other Americans, for their political beliefs, is bone chilling.

In this instance, I agree with Speaker Boehner who stated, “…who is going to jail over this scandal?” Democrats and Republicans need to come together to make sure that this will never happen again.

I believe this issue is systemic. In order to fix it mass firings and purging of management (at all levels) needs to take place. This scandal is–yet another–example of people in our government wielding power they were not ready to possess.

Finally, the Benghazi attack is an enormously sad event. The assassination of Ambassador Stephens and the killing of three other U.S. citizens is a slap to the administration and our nation, but more than that the assault on our embassy was an act of war.

Mixed reports suggest Stephens was tortured and sodomized before he died. Although this fact hasn’t been incontrovertibly proven, the brutality is factual. If critics are correct that President Obama went to bed without knowing the fate of Ambassador Stephens. It truly would be reprehensible.

A lot of talk is being bantered about regarding emails and who knew what, but I think the issue is much greater than that. Like the other scandals, it appears that Benghazi resulted from either incompetence or corruption from various levels of the administration.

These issues need to be addressed by Congress and the American people. Partisan politics should be set aside.

If top-level officials are at fault in any of these scandals, they need to be removed from office. If it rises to the level of the President, so be it.

Ultimately, President Obama and his appointees are responsible for what goes on in their agencies. The buck stops with those in high office.

It’s sad that this administration wasn’t ready for power.  If it were, we wouldn’t see a firestorm of scandals and corruption.  I hope the President can clean up his administration before Congress or the American people have to do it.