I admit that I haven’t been following primary electoral politics as much lately as I have in the past. Mostly, I’ve been pretty busy with life to pay much attention. But I also think I’m partially just uninterested at this point. All I know is that Sarah Palin – despite how I may feel about her - has been flexing her true political muscle all over the country, Democrats in South Carolina have lost their collective minds, and the Tea Party evidently tends to support anti-masturbaters.
But one story that did catch my full attention was the surprising unsurprising news that Charlie Rangel, former Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, won the Democratic primary in his district despite the mounting ethics charges currently against him. Included in the charges, Rangel has been accused of: seeking money for a New York college center named after him using House stationary; using false reports to Congress to hide at least $600,000 in assets, using a rent-subsidized apartment for a campaign office; and failing to pay taxes on rental income from a beach villa in the Dominican Republic. This isn’t exactly the same as getting a little nooky from a call girl.
This is another shining example of how voters fail to look beyond anything other than political affiliation, race, longevity, or any number of cursory things in choosing their leaders. While the spotlight of this particular post is on Rangel, this voting phenomenon is nothing new, and certainly not unique to him. Voters – either uninformed or indifferent – will support candidates who look like them, “relate” to them, and talk like them; but not necessarily those who will actually work in their best interest. Here we have one of the most powerful men in Congress using his status and position to line his own pockets. Of course, his are all “alleged” charges, but that’s simply another way of saying “he’s innocent until we’ve had a chance to dust the money for his fingerprints.”
Stories like this make me less and less confident in our political system, its agents, and the electorate who puts these people in their positions. But I suppose that as long as the American voter continuously drums up superficial reasons to keep corrupt politicians in power, we deserve to be exploited. We feed into the culture of corruption. The fruits it bears is of our own doing.