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Palin Ethics and why we care

by on December 8, 2009

Palin, Palin, Palin, get your Palin here! That’s about all I ever hear out of the media — unless it’s Tiger Woods’ turn, or ACORN, or something else that gets its week’s worth of attention. Palin, though, never goes away; not since she became something to talk about 16 months ago. So, when I read David Corn’s latest Mother Jones article, I had a reaction worth commenting on. The article, “Palin’s Latest Ethics Flap”, is about how, since her resignation as governor, Palin has not been held accountable in the ethics complaint filed, while she was governor, about Alaska Fund Trust and personal financial gain for Palin. My reaction to the article, and this is the important part, was “so what”; you who know me know that I care about ethical behavior, both in and out of the government, etc., etc., etc.. “So what”, I thought, not because I don’t care, but because there seem to be more important causes (John Yoo, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush).

It becomes inevitable that one “so what” could lead to another. I retract my reaction to the Sarah Palin article, which matters as much as if she were actually still in charge of a state, or a corporation, or anything larger than a household — it even matters there. My “so what” reaction is exactly what’s wrong with the system. If Palin has ethical issues, should we not care because Bush was worse; if Bush has ethical issues, should we not care because Hitler was worse? Like Andrew Sullivan does every day in his journalistic pursuit of Palin, we have to care.

Issues are not dealt with in binary. There is right and wrong, but right and wrong exist along a flexible continuum, as time changes. At our current place in history, it is wrong to be a government official (at least, in our form of government) who does not act within the rules of law. More importantly, and this applies to Palin, Bush, Cheney, and others, government officials who make mistakes need to, have to, be able to admit to those mistakes and improve as the system desires them to improve. That, we are lacking.

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