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The Politics of Corruption

Obama can’t succeed. No matter how clear his vision, he can’t overcome the corruption that’s been woven into the fabric of politics in America.

We’ve legitimized corruption. We’ve legalized it and given it constitutional protection. In the United States, identifying the true sources of governmental corruption is a treasonous act, for corruption is now built-in to the bricks and mortar of our system of government. To identify corruption here is to identify our governments, both local and federal. To call for corruption’s end is a call to bring down these governments, for governmental corruption is now such a cancer that it seemingly can’t be removed from our legal institutions without dismantling the government.


Our corruption, the corruption that’s paralyzing the Obama administration, isn’t the good old fashioned honest corruption found in the third world, where it’s often possible to buy one’s way out of an arrest by bribing the would-be arresting officer or where governmental red tape can often be made to magically disappear with the passing of an envelop filled with unmarked bills. In these cases, those accepting bribes, no matter how common an occurrence that might be, are breaking laws. In theory, a cop accepting a garden variety bribe in Tijuana could end up in the hoosegow. Not very likely, but it could happen.

Here in the States, however, where we pride ourselves as being the freest and most democratic society on earth, bribery has become institutionalized. The rich and powerful, both as individuals and as corporations, pay bribes in advance, through campaign contributions, through lobbyists and through a host of other means. Practically every member of congress is bought and paid for before being sworn-in. As are judges, city council members, zoning commissions, and on down the line.

Congress can’t pass legislation without attaching some measure to please a lobbyist. City councils regularly lock-out their constituents from meetings so they can make policy that favors the landed gentry, Monsanto finds it easy to protect its genetically engineered empire, oil companies get to regulate themselves, and any American who’s name begins with Mc can’t open a restaurant under their name without a court ruling in favor of McDonald’s in a trademark dispute.

All of this is perfectly legal. It’s become part and parcel with “the American way.” The sad thing is, most Americans accept this legalized corruption as being fair and just. Try to institute election reform – you’re interfering with the first amendment. Try to put teeth in environmental regulations – you’re anti-business. Try to get health care reform that isn’t merely a boondoggle for the insurance companies and you’re a socialist, or worse yet, a communist.

No wonder Obama can’t accomplish much. He’s bound by law to feed the monster of the corrupt. He discovered too late, after being sworn-in, that he has no legal alternative to feeding us to the lions. We’ve made it legal. Corporations are our new lords.

Christine Hall

Christine Hall began her journalism career in 1972 writing for the "underground" newspaper the Los Angeles Free Press. From 1988 until 2005 she covered politics for various newspapers in the Greensboro, North Carolina area.

3 comments to The Politics of Corruption

  • Erica Steffensen

    This is why I’ve been telling people, “It doesn’t matter whether you vote Democrat or Republican. It doesn’t matter who has the majority in Congress. Lobbyists are going to pay whoever is passing the legislation.”

    The so-called selfless democracy is being governed by corporation and money. Corruption in politics hasn’t been this pervasive since the Holy Roman Catholic Church had the European monarchs in their pockets. But it’s the same principle.

    In this country, our God is the almighty dollar. You really can buy your stairway to heaven. Whoever has the money has the power, that’s never changed.

  • Christine Hall

    The question, Erica, is how do you fix it?

    If you just rip the built-in corruption from our governments, they all come tumbling down, leaving the door open for the neocoms to step in and build something even more to their liking than what we have now.

    What’s needed is a plan executed with surgical precision, an unraveling of the web, if you will. But before we can do that, we must have an even better understanding of the problem we have now.

    And we must be ever mindful of those unintended consequences…

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