Finding bad news in the good

Lighten up, guys! Of course, we all know that Tuesday's election doesn't solve all our problems, but ferkryssakes, it was a victory! And even a small victory is better than a defeat. The point is not that one marginally less corrupt gang of politicians replaced a more corrupt gang, as this sourpuss wants us to believe: Election 2006: Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me

First of all, "corruption" is a process that can affect any living organism, not a congenital defect peculiar to politicians. That's why we have the cleverly designed institutions in our U.S. Constitution, the checks and balances, to control or limit the opportunities for corruption. Politicians, or probably any of us, can submit to influence, unless they or we are suicidally fanatic. A congress made up of incorruptible men and women would mean a chaos of people who absolutely refuse to waver from previously held positions. The closest thing I can remember from history was the early sessions of the French revolution, where nobody was willing to give ground to anybody. And we know where that led: la Terreur (including the invention of Dr. Guillotin), counterterror, and then Napoleon and what was in reality (though not called that) the first world war. Not a pretty picture.

Second, the real victory in this election was not the replacing of one set of politicians with another (though that is not insignificant), but what that process implies in a democracy: a massive public education about our responsibilities and our rights, about what aggression abroad is costing, and so on. These election results confirm once again Lincoln's dictum: You can fool some of the people all of the time, you can even fool all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. As a result of this latest electoral campaign more of the American people are a little more savvy, and it's going to be harder to fool all or even most of them (us) even some of the time.

Photo of Abraham Lincoln from For Counsel

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