“While Trump and his gang are the current horror story, they could be seen as no more than the logical conclusion to a lawless trend,” writes “Gadfly” columnist ROBERT MACKLIN.
How corrupt is America? It’s not a question one likes to ask.
This, after all, is the country that came to our rescue in World War II, the country of Abraham Lincoln and John F Kennedy, the leader in science and the standard bearer of democracy.
Yet the move to impeach Donald J Trump for leaning on the Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on presidential candidate Joe Biden is very hard to ignore, and impossible when PM Scott Morrison is tossed into the mix. And last month’s whistleblower and Chinese revelations were the icing on a thoroughly inedible cake.
Of course, it’s easy to say that Trump is a one-off who really doesn’t reflect the values of the American system. The “New York Times” always makes the point that neither Joe Biden nor his son Hunter, the focus of Trump’s interest, did anything wrong.
But honestly, is Hunter Biden so outstanding a businessman that if his father were not vice-president at the time, the Ukrainians would still have picked him out of millions to become a director of their big gas company?
Oh, and this is the same Hunter Biden who was dismissed from the Naval Reserve in 2013 after testing positive for cocaine. Yet he collected up to $50,000 a month in director’s fees from the Ukrainians.
In Australia, that would not pass the pub test.
Even before the latest kerfuffle, the corruption of America’s political system has been blazoned across the news pages of the world. Every time there’s a shooter on the loose in an American school or mall or business the cry goes up for gun control from the wounded victims and the grieving loved ones. And every time the National Rifle Association hoses it down with greenbacks.
Every congressional politician is required to spend at least 70 per cent of his or her time fund raising. And the NRA has plenty to go around. But if not the gun nuts it’s the tobacco or the fossil fuel industries with cheque books at the ready. That’s even before the war on drugs brings out the Mafia and the Colombian cartels to compromise the entire law enforcement and prison system.
Indeed, the politicians themselves have corrupted the electoral boundaries with gerrymanders that guarantee a disproportionate Republican Party representation. And they blatantly pervert voter registration laws to further their cause. So while Trump and his gang are the current horror story, they could be seen as no more than the logical conclusion to a lawless trend.
But here’s the good news. Trump’s outrageous scheming will eventually knock Biden out of the race to be the Democrat challenger. And after Bernie Sanders’ little heart problem that surely elevates the squeaky clean Elizabeth Warren to the leadership. And she has the intellectual capacity, the detailed plans, the practical experience and the political smarts to really “drain the swamp” of a corrupt and corrupting system.
Actually, in my humble view, she bids fair to usher in America’s first Elizabethan age! And after years of that misogynistic Narcissus raging in the Oval Office, the US will at last have the chance to return to the sort of place that’s truly worthy of our wholehearted alliance.
Now that’s really something to look forward to.