July 19, 2006
Accountability and responsibility appear at times to have become anachronisms.
Oh, we still teach the concepts to our kids and workplace ethics offers lip service to what was once axiomatic, but the growing list of facts in evidence suggests accountability and responsibility are really kinda politically incorrect…unless used as tools to attack political rivals.
Judge Jon Newman once noted that American liberty “is premised on the accountability of free men and women for what they have done, not for what they may do.” That quote may be a collorary of the Geoff Metcalf bromide, “It’s not WHO is right or wrong but WHAT is right or wrong that matters.”
The classic dialectic of rational discourse remains only two thirds applied. Bomb throwers on the left and right engage in a perpetual conflict without even a hint of achieving a synthesis. It is a playground shouting match of “I’m right”/”No you’re not!/”Yes I AM!”/”Neener, neener, neener….”
Toni Cade Bambara, observed, “We have rarely been encouraged and equipped to appreciate the fact that the truth works, that it releases the Spirit and that it is a joyous thing.” Amen! Go figure….She goes on to say, “We live in a part of the world, that equates criticism with assault, that equates social responsibility with naïve idealism, that defines the unrelenting pursuit of knowledge and wisdom as fanaticism.”
Yeah, “the truth works”…IF…if it is allowed to be revealed…and if it isn’t marginalized and obfuscated by silly screeds reduced to seeing who can yell the loudest.
Although Bambara’s observations are spot on, her list of truisms are intrinsically way flat wrong.
A short list of subscribers to the gospel as outlined by Bambara includes (but in no way is limited to):
The magnificent gift of the republic may be an atrophied shadow of what the framers intended, but the potential, and the hope of resurrection sustains some of us still.
The critical imperatives which remain AWOL are accountability and responsibility.
I have often observed that all our bumbling elected officials take a sacred oath. They still put their hands on a bible and swear to “preserve and protect the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It still bugs me that those same officials seem incapable of recognizing the irony of their rhetoric, votes and abuse of power, which specifically seek to undermine and abrogate the same document they have promised to “preserve and protect.”
When bad people do bad things, regardless of race, creed, sex, political affiliation or moon phases, they need to be held accountable and responsible for their malfeasance and/or abuse of power.
Valerie Plame was ‘outed’ by Aldrich Ames to the KGB in 1997 not by Bob Novak or Dick Cheney.
The key reason Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald and a Select Senate Committee both agreed no "outing" occurred was because Plame's employment at the C.I.A. was public knowledge (although more Georgetown waiters were aware of her employment than reporters or Congress critters).
Joe Wilson should be indicted for perjury…not suing the government or cutting movie deals. He lied about what he did and with whom he met…and did so knowingly and willingly.
Unless or until accountability and responsibility are restored as imperatives of public service we face a dim future, and the republic we were given will continue to atrophy to a point resembling mummified pharaohs.
© 2006 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved
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"Geoff Metcalf is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for TALK AMERICA and a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Visit Geoff's
I have often observed that all our bumbling elected officials take a sacred oath. They still put their hands on a bible and swear to “preserve and protect the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It still bugs me that those same officials seem incapable of recognizing the irony of their rhetoric, votes and abuse of power...