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Holding Politicians Accountable

by Jessica B. May 21st, 2013 | Democratic Deliberations
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liberty protestorThis week has been a rough one for the U.S. government. With the exposure of questionable practices within the IRS and the invasion of media privacy, the government’s reach raised red flags as to how much freedom is too much freedom for the government to take.

At the end of the day, it is up to us, the citizens of this democracy to push our politicians to honor their promises to us and behave in an ethical manner. I know those two concepts seem like a joke in American politics these days, and that is why our democracy is cracking at the edges.

I am disappointed in the behavior of the Department of Justice and the IRS, but I am also happy to see that our system is still working to expose these problems when they arise and give us, the people, a chance to address them.

As the news cycle gets shorter and shorter, and the media giants compete with the tiny blogs, the rush to get a story out gets more and more intensive. This means less and less room, budget, and most importantly, time for investigative journalism. The risk is that we, the people, will miss out on some of the big stories, the ones that matter to us.

The answer is not rightwing Faux media beating certain issues into the ground trying to get us all excited, the answer is digging up actual problems (which I am pretty confident exist pretty much everywhere under just about any party) and exposing them. They are an extra check to our checks and balances system.

I don’t doubt that heads will roll in response to the latest revelations, but I do question if they will be the right heads (Look at Ollie North today! Quite the career man) and if they will change anything.

Many will say the overreach by the DOJ and IRS are examples of the ills of big government. I disagree. This bad behavior is just as rampant in smaller government. And I cannot imagine even the Libertarians campaigning to eradicate the DOJ or the IRS.

Until we can hold the correct people responsible, until government positions stop being based on nepotism, favors and political weight, we will get nowhere.

As a Democrat, and Obama supporter, I am disgusted by the news that has come out. Because it is disappointing to me, not just because it gives more fodder to the right, but because it goes against the principles that put me on the left. Principles that are core values for me, ones that I am not willing to just put aside.

I am not naïve enough to think that I can trust politicians with all they promise. But I do like to think that some of them, at their core, started out with the same values as I have. And even if they haven’t been able to stick to them the entire time, they shape their worldview and who they are. I am always saddened when I have to question if they ever held these principles in the first place.

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