UNITED STATES—Politics and corruption go hand and hand. I hate to say it, but a vast majority of individuals elected into political office find themselves involved in some sort of scandal at some point. The nation watched on Monday, March 11 as a verdict was released in the federal corruption case involving ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick who faced more than 30 counts including racketeering, mail and wire fraud and extortion to name a few. Kilpatrick was found guilty on 24 of the 30 charges that he was facing.
Watching the media frenzy of this event was tense; almost like a movie where you weren’t quite sure how the ending would play out. Kilpatrick co-conspirator and defendant Bobby Ferguson was found guilty on nine counts. Kilpatrick’s father, Bernard Kilpatrick was only found guilty on one count of submission of a false tax return. So why is this conversation so important? It’s because politics has an impact on all citizens. If you elect a political figure to represent you, you expect them to adhere to a set guideline of standards: ethically, morally and professionally.
But politics has an alluring quality that corrupts people: power. There is an immense power in being a political figure. So many believe they are above the law and because of that they find themselves entrenched in conspiracies, money laundering and other scandals that eventually reach the public sphere. Anything done in the dark eventually comes to life. This piece is not to badger the ex-Mayor of Detroit. Absolutely, he did wrong and he must be punished for it.
He has a wife, a mother, a father and other relatives that will not see him for many years. The saddest part is that his children will be deprived of having a father for at least 20 years minimum I suspect, probably more. That will have a huge impact on the lives of these children. The message remains there are consequences for your actions; if you are a political figure you are held to a higher standard than others. But for some unforeseen reason so many politicians seem to think they are able to maneuver themselves out of those sticky situations.
To be in politics requires leadership, collaborative effort and honesty; there should be a balance of each of these qualities. Just because a politician is placed in a higher position of authority compared to there counterparts does not give them the right to do heinous things. People are always watching, more importantly your level of integrity is placed into question. What would you do if no one was watching? It’s a common question so many of us ask ourselves on a daily basis. However, I wonder how politicians actually think their every move is not being watched by big brother and the people who elected them into office?
By Trevor Roberts