By Ernie McCray
Aristotle was of the belief that “Achieving good character is a process of clearing away the obstacles that stand in the way of the full efficacy of the soul.”
He came up with such an ethical notion somewhere between 384-322 B.C.E. And here we are, as a nation, in the 21st Century, facing GOP powers-that-be in Washington D.C. who, instead of seeking ways to ethically tend to our society’s political and social needs, choose to do whatever they desire whenever they please.
“To hell with the rules,” is their operating policy. I mean first the Republican House tries to weaken the power of an office that keeps an eye out for unethical behavior, and now the Republican Senate just bypasses the “background checks” and “ethics clearances” that traditionally a president’s cabinet nominees have had to go through throughout our modern history before they’re even considered for confirmation.
So America is supposed to become “great” at what? Having no honorable underpinnings? That would definitely be an obstacle standing in the way of the efficacy of our nation’s soul.
And, as to the efficacy of the GOP’s soul, we seem to have no choice as a citizenry, since they have no morality, other than demand that, if they do nothing else, they keep intact an office that observes them meticulously.
We, collectively, have to constantly be in their face to make sure they act within the confines of some degree of righteous protocol. That just has to be the call.
We have to keep reminding ourselves that most of us never signed up for a wall or claimed that undocumented immigrants were stealing jobs from us with many of them stooped over in fields of crops of all kinds… We never agreed to bully Muslims… We’ve never not embraced the aspirations of the LGBTQ community…
We haven’t joined forces with poor whites who brag about making “America Great Again” because we’ve tried, mostly in vain, to get them to understand that they’re in the same boat that people of color find themselves in when it comes to our country’s commitment or lack thereof to them with so many of them dreaming white nationalism as their numbers in our society decrease…
We haven’t abandoned our quest for criminal justice and everyone having civil and human rights…
So when someone, for instance, like U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, of Alabama, is up for the job of Attorney General, a man who has: argued that immigrants are siphoning billions in welfare payments; questioned whether the Constitution guarantees citizenship to anyone born in the United States, as the 14th Amendment states; insisted that the First Amendment doctrine of separation of church and state has been too broadly interpreted; declared same-sex marriage an indisputable threat to American culture; gone to court to deny funding for gay student groups; stated that overreaching by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has, at times, led to “civil wrongs” – we want this man vetted in a proper way.
We want and need to know if he still, with all the black and brown folks in prison on drug offenses, disproportionately, favors stiff mandatory penalties for such offenses; if he still believes that the government has grown soft on crime and still objects to what he sees as unwarranted criticism of police behavior – as unarmed black teenagers are executed in our streets.
We need to know how his “rock-ribbed conservatism” which the New York Times says “was forged in the deep poverty and isolation of rural Alabama and sharpened during 16 years as a federal prosecutor and state attorney general and polished as a senator” – we need to know how this is going to play considering the GOP’s continuing attacks on all things “liberal.”
When the House Republicans tried to curtail the powers of the Office of Congressional Ethics, we citizens raised our voices over their office telephones to get these people in line.
Now it seems that there’s a need for a loud outcry directed at the ethics office to officially cite Senate Republicans for their lack of moral principles.
We the People need to push the OCE to push the GOP to achieve some semblance of good character by “clearing away (since they won’t do it on their own) the obstacles that stand in the way of the full efficacy of the (their) soul.”
As to the leader of the party, Trump, Walter Shaub, Jr., director of the Office of Government Ethics, has boldly stood up for us and pointed out that he, with his refusal to, in good faith, sever himself from his business enterprises, has failed to even come close to removing ethical violations that will go to the heart of his ability to govern.
When government workers like Mr. Shaub come to the fore we have to give them our full support. They’re our connection to putting an end to the republicans’ unrelenting unethical pursuit of the raw political and social power they need to ignore our collective needs and do as they please.
And then we have to be ready for the next devious trick up their sleeve because it’s just beginning.
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