Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Be your brother's Keeper

When Cain replied that he was not "his brother's keeper," he answered poorly. The moral we are to gain from that story is that we are indeed our brother's keeper. The problem with Congress these days is that they don't really know who their brother is.

I wanted to avoid the Mark Foley issue. It is an ugly and distasteful story. Brandon Miniter, writing in today's Opinion Journal, forced me to change my mind when he wrote about the House Republicans poor job of policing their own. To me it is indicative of a widespread failing afflicting both parties.

Cronyism is ancient and widespread. In business, sports, entertainment, and even religion, we cut our buddies some slack at the expense of the letter of the law. There are cases where that is both justifiable and appropriate, and I don't pretend to have all the answers, but there are cases where it is not. Public service in the national legislature of the United States of America is not one of those cases. As holders of the public trust they must be held to a higher standard.

The leaders of both parties see each other and their fellow congressmen as colleagues. They try to protect each other, as in the case of the FBI raid on Rep. William Jefferson. They offer a chance to shape up, as in Foley's case. They don't realize (or ignore) that the brothers they should be watching out for are you and me. They should be the keeper of their constituents and in this they fail miserably. There is fear among our elected officials- fear that they will not find acceptance and praise at the hands of their peers. They fear the loss of their power and prestige. They forget that their prestige and power is ours to give and theirs to earn. We give it at too cheaply to the underserving.

I am a proponent of term limits at every level of our government. The benefits far outweigh the limitations. Maybe I'll have a chance to enumerate them sometime soon.


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