Ends Means Justify

Hint: they don't

   

And that's right, it is what politicians do. This is what party politics is all about. It's not about the good of the city, state, country or electorate. Mostly, it's not even about the good of the party. It's about the thirst for power, totally impure and absolutely corrupting, even when the power in question is only that of a sad little political toady who thought an elephant's kiss had turned him into a powerful prince.

  

were the floodwaters

plays, cronyism and corruption—party

  

blatant,

   

cheerleading

Free checking and a toaster, at least.

   

er,

If we haven't already.

As the old saw goes, the only surprising thing is that people are unsurprised at the continuing revelations in the petty e-mail theft among local Republicans, dubbed GOPhergate by the pundits. (I prefer GOPjape, GOPgaffe or Harberbate myself; that "gate" reference is so stale.)

Does it matter that the main suspect in the case was a trusted operative of Mayor Mike Ragsdale? Does anyone care that Ragsdale continued to deny he knew who left the stolen e-mails in his office days after the perpetrator was supposedly revealed to him? Apparently Knox Countians don't. People seem to be taking the position of, "Well, it's just politics. That's what politicians do."   

And that's right, it is what politicians do. This is what party politics is all about. It's not about the good of the city, state, country or electorate. Mostly, it's not even about the good of the party. It's about the thirst for power, totally impure and absolutely corrupting, even when the power in question is only that of a sad little political toady who thought an elephant's kiss had turned him into a powerful prince.  

Perhaps people are now too jaded to be piqued by small scandals. Maybe voters still recall how deep, dirty, and enduring were the floodwaters after Watergate broke. Possibly they remember the wrists slapped in the Bill Frist flap over the aide whose cyber-fingers were caught in the Democratic cookie jar. Perchance we still reflect on the as-yet unresolved game the Bush administration is playing with Valerie Plame's name. Maybe, just maybe, We, The People, finally know we see only the tip of the dunghill that is party politics.

After all, power plays, cronyism and corruption—party politics wouldn't be the same without them. To see that to politicians, the end always justifies the means, we need look no further than the current presidential administration: "We invaded Iraq because it had Weapons of Mass Destruction! What's that? It doesn't? Well, gosh darn, we coulda sworn.... Well then, we invaded Iraq because it was harboring terrorists! What? Not until after we invaded did it become a haven for terrorists? OK, our bad—whoops, not our ba-, ah, our faul-, ah, ah, I mean, OK, now, now hear this: We invaded Iraq to bring democracy to the little children in the Middle East who didn't have any. Y'all like that? You do? Good gosh all mighty, all righty then! That's our story and we're stickin' to it. What's more, that was always our story and we always stuck with it! You never heard anything otherwise. All we ever talked about were waves and waves of democracy. We were always saying we were bringing democracy to the little children who got none."  

Bush's snuffling about for a war justification was so blatant, maybe we're just desensitized to outlandish political stunts. So maybe the lack of public outrage at a local, relatively minor, in-party spat is also understandable. But it is sad nonetheless. It appears more and more people are coming to believe that, because politicians are scum, they will always behave scummily, no exceptions. And while I don't argue with the sentiment, it leaves us with an untenable state of affairs. Scum they may be, but they our scum. It's up to us to keep our scum in check.   

To bring this maundering essay back to our own little cesspond, what should be made of the Haslam administration's cheerleading the demolition of the Sprankle Building? Well, we should expect the city to get more than Home Federal's promise to stay downtown. Free checking and a toaster, at least. Haslam is, after all, scion of deal-master Big Jim. Surely, some of that savvy rubbed off. But even if the city gets a good return on its acquiescence, Mayor Haslam should not be given a free pass for his silence.

Last fall, Haslam announced he would be given a 45-day notice of Home Federal's decision to proceed with the Sprankle's demolition. If he was given such notice, why wasn't the public? If the mayor knew, then it's an abuse of the public trust to keep silent on so significant an issue. The ends do not, can never, justify the means.   

That's why the public must vigilantly skim its pond scum, er, watch the means politicians take to their ends. If we don't monitor our politicians, we will find that we, the people, have become the means to the end. If we haven't already.

© 2005 MetroPulse. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.