For Wales?

Another governor has been caught behaving badly. Why is this still news? In the last few years, we have seen the governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut forced out of office. And now Illinois. Who will be next?

It is remarkable, though, that people at that level of government can be so stupid as to believe they can get away with it. And have such twisted priorities that they think it is worth it.

There’s a wonderful scene in Robert Bolt’s play, A Man for All Seasons, in which Thomas Moore, having been betrayed by an assistant, sees that the man has been rewarded by being made Attorney General for Wales. “Why Richard,” says More, “it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world… but for Wales !” The Governor of Connecticut might have been a Cabinet officer or Vice President. Yet he accepted a hot tub in return for steering some contracts to a friend. But for a hot tub?

The deeply troubling aspect of all this – ignored by the media who are obsessed with the scandal but indifferent to the lessons to be learned – is that we the people have chosen these men (and they have all been men) to represent us. And the media have not helped us see who they are and what they are doing. There will always be greedy and immoral people, but when the system works the media will help us see and we will make wise choices.

But then, these are only governors and the impact is minor. A champion of our current governor in Connecticut told us recently that “she comes to work almost every other day.” You can’t do a lot of damage that way.

But what about the people whose decisions shape worlds? What about the leaders whose decisions defraud investors of billions, waste tax money by the ton, ignore and override the plain language of the law, send troops to war, and torture those they consider guilty – whose decisions can destroy civilization? Does the media tell us what we need to know? Do enough of us pay attention and act on our knowledge?

The fabric of civilized life is fragile. Do we care who acts in our name?

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