The Columbia Critic

A place to debate anything we want to. We'll talk Columbia campus issues. We'll talk up the homosexual problem. We'll talk China. And we'll talk without resorting to partisan rhetoric. We may be left. We may be right. But we aren't going to be quoting any party line. We're leading the discussion. But feel free to chime in. Hannity and Colmes this is not.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Reintroduction of John Rowland

Not to be forgotten behind the mist which is the current political air (of scandal, sneaking, foul politics and egregious ethics) is the man who started it all (at least this recent wave): John Rowland, EX-Governor of Connecticut.

To really grasp the extent of this culture of deceipt - American corruption, vaster in terms of money than any Latin American or African dynasts that we complain about - it has lasted so long that Rowland went to jail and has now been released.

I have always confided in the underdog against the champions of supremity. There is something terribly exciting about seeing the underdog succeed. It must be the natural sympathetic character of this underdog, or perhaps an inner desire for parity in society. And so when guys at the top crumble there is a moment for change. At this moment in our wonderfully unappealing two party system the underdogs are the Democrats. As pundits debate how the Democrats can find their voice, I do not think we should politicize reality, perhaps instead of finding a way to spin the truth, Democrats should just be honest and say what is wrong is wrong. Ignoring this problem will only lead it to fester, deep under our skin like any amount of nasty things you can imagine.

The truth, dare I call it now, America is subject to the same impulses of other nations: including vast corruption, unethical actions, and ideological forays. American Exceptionalism defines itself on virtue: the virtuous sword of the world (clearly a legacy of our christian crusading). Without virtue our nation falls unto itself, collapsing in bitter deconstruction. That is unless we admit mistakes and renew our national mythology around things less polemical. We stop with these silly ideas of America leading the world, as if it were some sort of contest - some kind of manifest destiny upon us. That attitude in a globalized world will bring more enemies than friends; arrogance is the friend of confrontation. We should instead seek parity, friendship and cohesion with partners; teach "cooperation" and common identity within our nation and abroad. If, however, we continue this driving desire to be omnipresent, omnipotent it will alienate the world...slowly, surely.

I do not mean this as some sort of warning - I am not about to commit a grievous error like many others before me and say this country is bad, or poisonous. I enjoy my time here, primarily because of my family, my friends and the liberty I have to spend time with them in comfort. But, I, as a citizen, am slowly starting to reach my breaking point: when I can no longer support a crooked system, but worse, a crooked system that tells the world it's right. Call a spade a spade, fix it, let the underdogs have their chance to shine, let them rise, let them become corrupt, and switch the circle again. It is very cynical way to look at it, but at least in the small moment that the nation rallies for change...there is the chance for real improvement (before we forget about things, as we have forgotten about John Rowland).

If we believe in some sort of business cycle, our classical economic growth that has its ups and downs, but over the long haul always grows, then certainly we can call this a down period as we await new growth. And no down period can end without sacrifices and changes. We may not have to sacrifice tax-cuts, or our love of petroleum and the easy/fast life-style, but certainly at some point we will have to sacrifice our ego. Most of the world does not look at us with awe (this is not an islamic fundamentalist thing, but moderates across the Middle East, in Europe, in Africa, Asia and in Latin America). Like that kid in college who was cool freshman year as he flaunted his money and impressed you with his charisma, the game gets old and that guy turns into a complete asshole. And this guy can't just cover it up by giving money out at christmas, by trying to be the life of the party all the time. He can't pay for friends. No amount of money or false aid can prevent people from seeing him as a jerk. Because at the core, it is true.

John Rowland's prison sentence is over, and perhaps we can end our charade as well.


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