American Elephants

Competence, Responsiblity, Intelligence and Ethics by The Elephant's Child

People in responsible positions have behaved very badly. Lies and excuses are flowing. I didn’t know. Nobody told me. I’m not responsible. It wasn’t illegal. It wasn’t my decision. I wasn’t aware. It’s irrelevant. I didn’t understand what was happening. Don’t blame me. How do you begin to get your mind around what is going on?

Cascading scandals. Today’s scandals are piling on top of earlier scandals that we don’t yet understand. Who is responsible? Who knew? Who is lying? Who is telling the truth? Who are the whistleblowers? Who is being sent out to take the fall to protect someone more important?

One begins to long for the days of historic Japan when the person in charge took responsibility, pronounced his shame and committed seppuku. It may seem barbaric now, but it brought a quick finality to the problem, tied it in a neat package so the remaining people could put their lives back together and get on.

Young graduates are entering society with big hopes and enormous debts. In Oklahoma a 1½-mile wide tornado has destroyed an entire town, flattened homes, and a death toll of twenty-five people almost sounds like a good thing, for it could have been so much worse. Cascading grief.

Senator Carl Levin is engaged in calling the Apple computer corporation to task before the Finance Committee for not paying more taxes even though they have carefully followed the laws made by the U.S. Congress. One reason that  those new graduates are not finding employment to pay back their student loans is because the law of  unintended consequences is making a burgeoning scandal out of ObamaCare, a law passed by a Democrat Congress without a single Republican vote.

The people holding committee meetings designed to get to the bottom of the scandal are also the people who have passed the laws, or passed the buck to some agency, to make the rules that are currently fouling everything up. We’re all human and fallible and make mistakes. But you don’t get off the proverbial hook by appearing before a committee and offering the  passive “mistakes were made.”

Yes. A  lot of mistakes have been made. People have been killed, unnecessarily. One quite innocent businessman has had to pay $80,000 worth of legal bills because someone in the IRS or in the Treasury Department or in the White House thought it was acceptable to go after someone’s entire financial dealings because they dared to donate to the president’s political rival  before an upcoming election.

Those illegal and unethical attacks have had the desired effect. Big donors are afraid of the IRS. The head of Health and Human Services left, by a massive bill that nobody had read, in charge of rolling it out, is finding out that the law of unintended consequences means that everyone is trying to avoid participating in a system that they believe to be unworkable and unaffordable. So she is out trying to bully those very entities which she will regulate into financing a program to make people like the unlikable. ObamaCare itself is a scandal that is ruining the economy.

With all those scandals, it’s no wonder that people do not yet understand the depth or the meaning of all these failures. Large numbers of the population have never heard of Benghazi, nor Kermit Gosnell, Steve Miller, nor Frank VanderSloot. Well, it’s no wonder. This may be the information age, but the information flow is not pared down and carefully formed so we get only that which is important, and if it were so, it would be someone else’s judgment as to what is important.

Twitter, designed by its limits to be confined to 140 characters (including spaces), would seem designed to be short, direct and immediate. Yet it is not turning out to be a conveyance of the most important information, but mostly an all-American repository of smart remarks.

You have to dig out the important information for yourselves. Reject the news about Beyoncé and the Duchess of Cambridge’s pregnancy, and take notice of what is going on. Because what your Congress is doing will change your life. Take away your freedom. Even though they work for you, you can’t trust them. We have to remind them constantly of their responsibilities. There is a there there. It does matter.

A free society, if it is to remain free, requires citizens who take
the risk of standing up to be counted on the issues of the day.
………………………………………………………Walter Wriston


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