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No Wonder Our Young People Don’t Vote

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I wonder if anyone recalls the original campaign promises of our current administration. Back when George Bush would raise his right hand as if taking a solemn vow and announce he would restore “honor and integrity” to the White House if elected. Sometimes he would alter the phrase ever so slightly, making it “dignity and honor” and other variations of the same three words.

With today’s Internet, we can easily check on some of the original statements. How about Vice President Dick Cheney, August 2, 2000, offering:

On the first hour of the first day, he will restore decency and integrity to the Oval Office. They will offer more lectures and legalisms and carefully worded denials. We offer another way, a better way, and a stiff dose of truth.

Those were followed by the words of President Bush himself dated September 23, 2000.

Just because our White House has let us down in the past, that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen in the future. In a campaign that’s going to restore honor and dignity to the White House…

Lack of Ethics 101

PingNews.comBy the time 2005 rolled around, those words were a distant memory. At that time, the indictment of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice charges had seriously tarnished the view point that Bush might bring a higher level of ethics to the Oval Office. One poll taken at that time indicated that by a 3 to 1 ratio, Americans felt that honesty and integrity had declined under the Bush administration and the president's 34% rating for ensuring high ethics in government was actually lower than that of Bill Clinton when he left office.

Fast forward to the year 2007 and the vast array of ethical issues that dominated the headlines. There was Bush nominee Paul Wolfowitz as World Bank President, resigning under the pressure for his ethical lapses including authorizing a $50,000 raise for his girlfriend. Then there was the high profile situation of another Bush appointee, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Whether it be the justices relieved of their duties for supposed incompetence or the push at the hospital bed of former attorney general John Ashcroft to sign off on illegal wiretapping, Mr. Gonzales’ oversight of the Justice department was fraught with a frightening lack of integrity.

There was the pardon of Libby, the request for immunity for phone companies that may have broken the law at the bidding of the White House and the investigation into tapes destroyed by the CIA, tapes that apparently showed interrogation techniques that most of the civilized world would express disdain for.

Eleventh Earl of MarIn between there was Matteo Fontana who had to be placed on leave from the Department of Education as leader of the loan office. In that case, Fontana owned more than a $100,000 worth of stock in a student loan company that received financial benefits from federal loans. There were also the convictions of two Bush appointees tied to the behavior of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. J. Steven Griles, deputy interior secretary and former White House aide, David H. Safavian, were both convicted of white collar misconduct.

The Will of the People?

The theory behind our democratic form of government is to elect officials to office so that they will do the will of the American people. These politicians are supposed to put their personal and family interests aside, even their former business connections so as to act in the best interest of the collective whole. Unfortunately what we continue to witness is a long way from that theory. Conflicts of interest are evident every where one looks and individuals are using their elected or appointed position to further their own financial gain.

In addition, loyalty to those who stand fast in the face of the scrutiny regarding potential wrongdoing also appears to be rewarded within the current administration. How else could the White House stand behind either Alberto Gonzales or Paul Wolfowitz for as long as they did. And think where the justice department would be at this moment if it were still were somehow under the guidance of Gonzales, dealing with the latest revelations that subordinates broke the law with hiring practices that were based on political ideology.

Of course, there has always been a second critical issue at play for the current administration. The discussion of competency is one that could perhaps even trump the lack of ethical behavior.

pingnews.comSurprisingly, the president actually thinks his tenure in the White House will be judged more favorably by historians down the road. Given the extreme ethical transgressions, it seems preposterous that there will ever be a time when this presidency will be seen in a favorable light. The ethical transgressions that are so troubling to most Americans today will certainly only get darker as the future rolls in.

Classroom Discussions

For teachers, the behavior and decision-making within the current White House makes it very challenging to fairly discuss politics with the next generation of voters. Walking the political line of fairness in a high school social studies class these last few years could hardly have been more difficult. Because the close examination of these ethical transgressions would be seen as nothing more than bashing our president.

Our democratic process is supposed to lead our great nation in a direction that puts the proper people in the position to further the very ideals our country was founded upon. Yet we adults have been thoroughly confused and shaken by what we have witnessed.

And if we adults are having difficulty making sense of things, imagine how difficult it must be for our children.

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About Tom Hanson

  • Condor

    And then came 9/11 in 2001…. and the “new normalcy” which created the diversion. Politics… now I’m not defending the Bush administration, but I fail to note any big push by the Dems to further the investigation in the rush to punish the perps. I only question why we used the military to pursue a criminal element. The terriost activity witnessed was, after all, an act of criminality. Naysayers to the actions were shown the door. The blood was up and the Bush administration flush with the fever to get results didn’t listen to Powell, or the Chief of the JCS. Powell publicly told Bush that if you break it (Iraq) you own it… and it came to pass. Rummy pushed for war on the cheap… and we bought into it. Ineptitude. A Bay of Pigs for the new millenium. Even the Bay of Pigs was a failure which could have been prevented by JFK, or turned into a successful empirical venture if JFK turned the faucet of military pursuit of objective all the way on. Was it the right choice? In retrospect, I think JFK should have cut the venture… would the missile crises have happened if he did? Probably, as the CCCP (USSR) had their own agenda as well. And the Soviets were afraid of the U.S., as Reagan was shocked into their fulfilling prophesy after Able Archer in 1983. Talk about enlightenment. It became crystal clear in 1983 that the USSR FEARED the U.S., and would go to any length, included global anniliation to keep there ideology intact.

    I’m not an advocate of empire building or of wrapping the pinions of the eagle around every country seeking to break away from smothering, tyranical systems of government. Both candidates don’t hold the promise of change from the status quo. The voters have to think for them, but won’t or don’t. They are too preoccupied with getting through the day intact, and spending capital on imported goods… which lead to the current trade deficit and a dependance on foreign products… in order to bolster off shore economies. Where does that leave us (the voters), in a lurch. Raise taxes to cover losses and corps go offshore where the laber in significantly less expensive and unions who are non-existant to squelch earnings through inventive programs of lining thier pockets under the guise of helping the working class of bluecollar dummies (to quote a recent Ivy league democratic elitist). In that respect I’m not enthused with the McCain approach and even less enthused with the Obama retoric of throwing money at problems with the resultant tax increases to cover the costs of ill tempered strategic “planning.”

    Is McCain the better choice, or just the poster child for victory over the empty suit called Obama? We’re so desparate I think the public is wishing for betterment…. and wishing is not going to work. As Thompson put it (he stole it) “Wishing is not good enough, and hope is not a strategy,” Hope is NOT a method, its desparation.

    What choice? They’re both poor strategies. At this point in time and circumstance we are in effect left with two choices and both of them suck. It’s now of matter of which one sucks the least. I’m going McCain, at least if it turns bad, he’s got the wherewithall to stomp grapes in order to mitigate the enormous risk facing us. Obama comes up lacking in poker skills and only wishful in approach.

  • Condor, it might be time for a third choice, no? I would go there, and I think others would too. I voted for Perot BOTH times, as I thought he was the best choice.

    The good thing about politics is that sometimes a person with high hopes and aspirations to do the right thing gets caught in the grist mill that is the status quo. I don’t care who you are, the machine(s) will run right over you.

  • By the way, I disagree with your title. I have two children, one 18 and the other 21, and both are excited to vote, as are their friends. (For Obama, of course. He appeals to them.) When you’re young, you’re more likely to be interested. It’s a time before Life hits you on the head and you become a jaded cynic like me.

  • Jordan Richardson

    It is time for a third, fourth, and fifth choice. The American people need to realize that there are more than two political parties in the land and, yes, that it’s okay to not be on the right or the left. Most people are a combination of the two.

    My wife is voting for Cynthia McKinney / Rosa Clemente in the United States election. The two black women (how’s that for a story!) are the best candidates running and deserve a chance at mainstream media coverage. I urge more people to look to independents and other candidates from smaller parties this election and demand media coverage of the real issues. The American process doesn’t have to be this way, but the public has to demand better.

  • Arch Conservative

    Actually Chuck Baldwin is the best candidate running and I will be voting for him Jordan.

  • Jordan Richardson


  • kd

    Why does every attack on Bush deteriorate into a debate on the current candidates? Can’t he suck without invoking the name of McCain or Obama?

    What does “honor and integrity” have to do with 9/11? If 9/11 changed everything, did Bush’s failure with Hurricane Katrina change everything too? Look how the GOP responded to a hurricane threat in N.O. this week. Why did this hurricane among many scare them so much?

    Bashing Barack does not excuse your lack of judgment in voting for Bush. Bush didn’t fail me (I didn’t vote for him)– the American public did — twice. If you voted for Bush you shouldn’t even be allowed to vote in this election. You’ve already proven to be just as poor at decision making as Bush.

  • Tom Hanson

    Glad to hear of the optimism in your children – it is a characteristic we need more of.
    Tom Hanson