Category: Political Science
A New Contract With America
This chapter aims to focus the reader to understanding the route causes of corruption besides the basic failure of the human psyche to grasp the need for complete honesty and integrity in all that we do.
Corruption! And what else do P.R. and the U.S. have in common?
by Richard R. Tryon
Any reader of any paper in almost any language in any part of the U.S.A., including P.R.; or any viewer of TV, or listener of radio will all agree on one thing. Never have they heard, read, or seen so much evidence of corruption in government and in business! Why?
The answer is not simple, of course, as it has taken a long time and many specific and seemingly isolated events and decisions to lead our global civilization to the position today where the above statements do not seem to exaggerate. How did this happen?
Perhaps it is too simple to contend that we have reached levels where three M?s seem to be involved. But, it may be a beginning. The first is morality. We live now in the age of ?civil liberties? where we have become the people, who have become the victims of a great hoax that has been perpetrated on us by what many will call liberal leaning or zealous leaders to what parades under the banner of ?human or social rights?. In the name of political correctness we have let every conceivable so-called minority group be defined by those that wish to claim power by becoming the ?keepers? of the right way to think. All of us may well deserve what has happened for many reasons. Most of them relate to lack of education which leads to simplistic thinking by those who refuse to study or who are too busy making some other agenda happen; but in any case, we have let the following happen that set the stage for rampant corruption.
First, we in the mainland of the United States of America let the Constitution be turned almost upside down and perverted it in ways that the founding fathers would never have dreamed possible. In the process, most of them have been demeaned and put-down as evil persons. Take for example, the now debunked book by Prof. Joe Ellis, recently deposed at Mt. Holyoke College for lying to his students. He managed to author ?best sellers? that revised history to his liking. One claimed that Thomas Jefferson fathered children by his slaves. While some will show that it is possible that others within the same family may have committed such sins, there is no real evidence that Thomas was involved. Strange that this ?news? came out during the time when President Clinton needed to look better in history and only recently have we discovered how ?flawed? was both the messenger and the message!
No greater damage has been done to the American dream of fostering healthy young citizens than that done by the Courts and the Churches. We have systematically locked God out of public life in many ways. The zealots used the Courts to gain their ?civil rights? and the churches have managed to either be on the wrong side or proven that they are part of the larger problem by showing a gross inability to avoid major moral scandals within the ranks of their leaders- be they TV fundamentalists or perverted pedophilian Roman Catholic priests! We have locked up the Ten Commandments and replaced them with the Ten Entitlements. Number Seven replaces the ?Thou shalt not steal? with ?You are entitled to take, use, abuse, and discard any thing or person that may be thought of as belonging to someone else; or who was foolish enough to think they either can own or have a partnership relationship to it?. Yes, ?Situation Ethics? has replaced any claim to any absolutes governing how people should relate to other people. Strangely, animal rights have been gaining strength at the same time as human rights have actually declined. We have great publicity about concern for human rights, but we freely accept that thousands die each year and many more are maimed or deprived because drug users need to capture vast sums of cash to pay to the Mafia leaders of the drug culture.
The second M is for Mayhem. Yes, we have built a culture that is looking for new ways to live life in the ?fast lane?. TV, papers, magazines, books, music, art, have all worked in unison to help us strive for more and more ways to make life more beautiful! More dazzling and exciting. Why? It is the easiest way to make a living in the age of technology! Sellers of all of the above forms of expression do very well by pandering to a gullible public that falls for the age old siren calls. Sex is for sale in every conceivable way except by those so caught up in its misperceived joys that they can?t take time out to collect money for it! They become the willing or unwilling ?tools? of operators that want to get rich by selling sex, or indirectly by using it to sell anything else.
Developing evidence to support the notion that more mayhem exists now than say fifty years ago is almost an exercise in irrelevant effort. In every corner of the U.S. including such remote ones as Puerto Rico, most people try to live in ?gated? communities. Even the public housing tries to protect itself from evil outside while it suffers from the higher levels of evil present within. Every youth is encouraged to play video games day and night and they all thrive on use of violence, sex, and mayhem. Our sports world is the most important part of civilization and its fans are as prone to violence as many of the players and we see an endless stream of evidence of such. How many stars have fallen in the last year? More, I suspect than in any decade prior to 1960. There is no need to detail the tired stories of the O.J. Simpsons of the world. We all know what they do, but few stop to sense that the masses contain a lot of people full of envy because they are not the ones playing such games in the ?fast lane?. Many more try it and fail when they just manage to collide an auto with someone or something.
The third ?M? is Money. Technology has brought us unprecedented amounts of money. Corruption has been a fact of life in the U.S. for a long time. It existed during the Civil War and perhaps even before as is reported in the history books. But, not on a scale so vast as to involved billions of dollars. The current Enron scandal wins the prize for the moment, but don?t think that it can?t be topped! The War on Terror provides an opportunity to cover up some huge acts that may make the evil genius of a few at Enron seem like the work of amateurs. But, one thing is certain- the more money that is available to the hands of a few who can gain power by playing games with it, the more corruption will be present. In Puerto Rico, corruption was known perhaps 100 years ago, but nobody could afford to discover or publicize it, and so little money was available it was not easy to find a place for corruption to flourish. That all changed after 1952.
Today P.R. has a government that employs perhaps 40% of all workers, who report their income for tax purposes! Nobody knows how many labor in the ?underground? economy in P.R. or in the U.S., but the number is very substantial. Collectively these people are perpetrating a large piece of corruption, but few worry about it because none of them are thought to be making millions in the process- an idea that the drug lords do not want to dispute! But the point is that the shear magnitude of the amount of money available for those who target it with corruption on their mind, is now of a far greater magnitude than most considered possible fifty years ago.
Yes, there are other factors that contribute to the malaise of the U.S. and of P.R. The last ten years in P.R. produced so much more money that the island is still in boom times! Construction of very costly homes is apparent along with thousands of smaller units that still sell for ten times what most folks could consider fifty years ago in P.R. With so much available to two political parties that inherited a socialist agenda from Governor Tugwell and Muñoz Marín, is it surprising that some see the billions of dollars coming from Washington as a target for personal gain via corruption?
Even if the first two M?s of moral failure and an insatiable appetite for sex and violence were not existing, the human tendency for greed alone is enough to cause corruption in government and in business. Put all three together and add other forms of social unrest, and a system that is not capable of policing itself, and the results are not hard to predict.
The problem of corruption has been well advertised in P.R. and it was a key to the campaign to win control of the legislature and of La Fortaleza by the Governor in 2000. Predictably the current call is for laws to contain the problem. One simplistic approach is to call for campaign reform by having the taxpayers spend a fixed amount for each political candidate and hope that no other money will creep into the equation. That is a foolish hope. Human nature will not be changed by such a legal approach. Ways will be found for some candidates to spend other money or have it spent for them to try harder to win because the reward for winning is so large! Control over that multi-billion pot of dollars that comes every year along with local tax money as well is too tempting. Will the advertising and public relations industry benefit from such changes? You don?t even need to be told- to know.
How can the U.S. or P.R. slow or reverse this trend? There are many ways that the public can respond that will eventually give relief to the problem of corruption. Unfortunately, making new laws aimed at requiring ever more auditing and control, is not one of them; if one wants to find a way that works, we must first find the fundamental source of the problem, and try to fix that!! The next report in the series will tackle this question and give some specifics about the current scandal in P.R. generated by the Education Department?s ability to siphon off millions of dollars for corrupt purposes.
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