Lord Acton anyone?

The 19th century Anglican bishop, Lord Acton, is best known for his remark that “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  As I tried to watch the news tonight and found that the stories were almost exactly the same as last week, I thought about this quote.

Why, I thought to myself, are men with so much fame and fortune seemingly so prone to abusing the people around them? If it wasn’t so awful, it would almost be laughable.  But then I thought of Lord Acton.  They abuse their power because they can.  I suspect powerful women do it too.  Men tend to be little better than rutting pigs though when it comes to their sexual urges so that’s frequently where their abuse rears its ugly head.  (Pun most definitely intended.)

But I will note a distinction here between the public and private sectors, one which even a CBS news reporter was kind enough to mention.  Those individuals in the media who have been “caught with their pants down” have mostly all been fired or suspended from their jobs.  Even the appearance of impropriety has been enough to likely end the careers of some very high profile people.  But not in governement.  Nope!  The only people who can “fire” these folks are the voters and they may not have a chance to speak for some time.  Yes, there is impeachment and, in the case of Congress, a vote to expel, but there seems little appetite for such actions on either side of the aisle.

Sadly, that lack of accountability and abuse of power is, I fear, the rule and not the exception when it comes to government officials at all levels.  No matter how much they all claim to work in the “public interest,” almost all will bend the rules to help a favored supporter or constituent.  They too often simply feel entitled to the power they wield and will use it to satisfy their own urges.  Only limiting that power will limit the abuse.  Until I decide to abuse all of you again, I wish you well!


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