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The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

Corruption in U.S. government misleads public

There are many people, both at Ames High and around the country, who simply do not care about politics. One of the main reasons so many people shy away from politics is the greed, lies, and bribery that have become so commonplace in Washington. It has become impossible to read a newspaper without being bombarded by the seedy underbelly of political corruption and deceit. We have all heard about the dishonored Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff who is currently awaiting a Justice Department investigation into his connections to political officials. But it’s not just Washington insiders who have been caught; corruption has also been uncovered among our elected officials. Representative Tom DeLay (R- TX) was charged with breaking Texas campaign law, Representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R- CA) pled guilty to accepting bribes, and Representative Robert W. Ney (R- OH) gave up his committee chairmanship as a result of federal investigations. In addition, Representative William J. Jefferson (D- LA) allegedly demanded cash and favors in exchange for his support of African business deals, and he has been under investigation since August. What message do all these scandals send to the average American? The days of our political naïveté are over. It is becoming increasingly difficult to point to those men (the fact remains that there are currently only 14 women in the Senate and 69 in the House of Representatives) in suits who look so nobly composed and say they are busy upholding the ideals upon which our nation was founded. The media, in playing its vital role as government watchdog, sniffs out these cases and broadcasts its findings for everyone to see and hear. In fact, the media seems to be doing its job so well that many Americans are convinced that Washington is nothing but a shady town filled with backroom dealings and bribery. Of course, the media is not to blame for this disillusionment of the American public. It is the cases of corruption themselves that must be condemned for smearing the name of the government. Corruption has led to staggering numbers of citizens—especially young adults—dismissing politicians as nothing more than a bunch of impeccably dressed heartless rhetoric machines. While this attitude toward elected officials is notable for the mistrust it creates between representatives and their constituents, it is also a major culprit responsible for the indifference toward politics so many Americans feel. They make a good point: why should they care about a bunch of suits if they kiss babies and make righteous speeches in front of the cameras, only to retreat to their offices to accept bribes? The first step in regaining the American people’s trust is to have appointed committees fairly investigate unethical behavior and punish those who have betrayed their constituents. In the future, politicians must realize that their actions greatly influence their support, and there is no one to blame but themselves when their corruption results in apathy and low voter turnout

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