A Tale as Old as Time

The great Civil War hero Ulysses S. Grant had a tendency to over-trust people. Because of this, his presidency was wrought with scandal. During his second term, five major scandals rocked his presidency in the course of just three years, all because of his unruly government agencies. Fortunately for his reputation, none of the scandals involved President Grant directly. All the scandals stemmed from backroom deals and the greedy hands of his friends and family whom Grant himself had appointed to the government agencies. One of Grant’s scandals, the Sanborn incident, even involved the pocketing of tax payments, the convenient overlooking of tax evasion, and exploitation regarding our nation’s Treasury Department. Sounding familiar?

Then, of course, there is President Richard Nixon. With Nixon arrives the problem of technology. While in earlier years ink and paper could disappear but not be reversed, we now have electronics and a handy “delete” button by which we can hide our darkest secrets. While Nixon used his delete button to erase vulnerable areas in the Oval Office audio tapes handed over to the House during his Watergate impeachment hearings, the IRS has now used the delete button (or a hard drive crash -- one of the same) to possibly hide revealing emails.

Throughout the tales of American history, one finds that scandals are a part of our government. It is easy to become discouraged. Has our great political experiment failed due to the greedy and partisan hands of politicians? The answer is no. Our very structure of government, with the checks and balances of our three branches, is the reason why we have not succumbed to the mire of scandal, even way back in 1800.

Albert Einstein said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” This is what makes America unique. As Americans, we watch our government and witness the corruption; however, instead of doing nothing, history has proven that our voice has checked our government’s corruption through the voting process. When one political party becomes too enthralled with control and authority, we have used our vote to recenter our government.

This is our duty. We must demand answers and accountability and then utilize our voice to rein in the government and reestablish it in truth and transparency.