Home Editorials Accountability and reprimanding politicians is a must

Accountability and reprimanding politicians is a must

by William T. Robinson, Jr
William T. Robinson, Jr.

When you look at the growing number of our elected officials making a mockery of the positions bestowed upon them, you literally want to scream.   So many of our politicians shamelessly lie to us and flaunt their immorality in our faces without any legitimate concern of being reprimanded. While the general public is subject to various forms of being reprimanded or punished (like suspension or being fired for flagrant acts of malfeasance or threatening behaviors), politicians seem to have immunity—no matter what they do.

Some politicians are called out for unbecoming behavior (especially sexual improprieties), and some isolated cases are taken seriously—but others are basically ignored or overlooked. There doesn’t appear to be an established set of rules treating everyone equally, showing no partiality.

Often we see public figures or lawmakers flagrantly arrogant when charged with improprieties, as if they were untouchable. The public must ask themselves: when is enough, enough? We have politicians in the spotlight shamefully and embarrassingly lying to the public. Race baiting, threatening people, and unapologetic profanity become ‘acceptable’ in their deliveries and actions.

We all can point out politicians who are unscrupulous demagogues, unabashedly feeding lies and divisive rhetoric to their base. While there may be a code of behavior and ethics they should adhere to, evidently it is not being enforced. There are far too many arrogant and shameless politicians running amuck.

Apparently, people of color can see things their White counterparts can’t see. We can see White, male politicians making racist and discriminatory statements, even using race baiting in their deliveries. But these presumed racists and liars never seem to get reprimanded. It makes one think that being White has its advantages and privileges.

We are a nation which is proud to have freedom of speech, but shouldn’t there be dire consequences for blatantly lying and making threatening remarks toward others if you are an elected official? How are we supposed to teach our children to conduct themselves in an honorable and respectable manner when they see so many politicians lying and promoting racial divisiveness?

Who hasn’t been witness to politicians exercising outrageous conduct that should dictate them being suspended or removed from their position? But as it stands now, reprimands for misconduct have to come from their fellow lawmakers. The public is made to believe that there is a big division in the political views of legislators, but when it comes to reprimanding their peers—they fall far short.

There should be an independent commission with the power to call out and punish ruthless, lying politicians. This commission should not be dependent on the approval of legislators who frequently cater to their own. The punishments could range from write-ups, reprimands, fines, suspension or recommendations for removal from office—even jail time.

Some people say such commissions or guidelines already exist. But if they are not being enforced, the undesirable behaviors will continue to exist. We must work to bring some respect, honesty and integrity to all three branches of government (Judicial, Legislative, and Executive). As voters, we should hold officials accountable. There must be consequences for ruthless, mendacious and unethical behaviors and actions. When we have people who can knowingly lie and defame others without consequence, we should only expect deceiving, misleading and ruthless behaviors to continue to run rampart.

As productive, law-abiding citizens, we are held accountable for our actions, knowing there are varying consequences for our behaviors. If politicians in office (or running for office) manifest unethical conduct, they should be held accountable too. But often we treat them as if they are immune to justice. Shouldn’t we hold them accountable?

There must be drastic changes in how we hold our lawmakers accountable if we are to aspire to being a moral, decent, and respectful society. We talk about such changes but rarely act on or bring them about. We can do better. We must eliminate unscrupulous lawmakers and vote in political servants who are trustworthy, honest, and respectable. We need more lawmakers manifesting integrity.

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