During a recent conversation a friend asked how certain politicians and government officials can get away with deeds that would have ordinary citizens checking into the crossbar hotel for a new career as consumers of corrective services.
Normally I would regard such a question as rhetorical but this time I paused to give it some thought. Why indeed do some people appear to be above the law? And then the answer, so simple as to be a real “duh” moment.
Alfred Noyes wrote, “The Highwayman.” In this poem which is the sympathetic character, the robber or those seeking to bring him to justice.
Robin Hood, thief, bandit leader or champion for equality and sharing the wealth?
What about Bonnie and Clyde? Al (Scarface) Capone? John Gotti, The Teflon Don?
Further back in our history, Billy The Kid, The James Brothers, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Think of all the famous pirates who roamed the seas plundering as they went.
And in fiction we have The Sopranos, The Godfather and thousands of other cinematic anti-heroes. The list could go on ad infinitum but I believe these will serve to illustrate the point that we truly love our bad folks.
Given that we tend to mythologize our criminal class and reduce their heinous crimes and misdemeanors to mere entertainment, overlooking the loss of life, the human misery and financial costs that ensued from their actions, is it any wonder that we so easily treat our politicians and appointed officials in the same fashion?
We need to wake up. The people making the headlines today are not the lovable Duke Boys from The Dukes of Hazard or the Ham Burglar filching french fries from your plate. The actions of rogue politicians have real consequences which can have serious detrimental effects on all our lives, our children and our grandchildren.
So when you read in the papers or hear on the news about the latest shady event coming from Washington don’t just chuckle and say, “there they go again.” Stand up and let your voice be heard. Just as when an acquaintance tells an off color joke or makes a comment that truly offends you, let it be known that you don’t approve.
It’s your government, these politicians and their minions have no right to treat it like it’s just another episode of “Breaking Bad” or “The Sons of Anarchy.”