What does ‘accountability’ really mean?

By Stephan Drew

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When I was a child, my parents taught me about responsibility and accountability. They’re a lot alike. Responsibility means having the duty and power (or authority) to do something. Accountability is the act of taking ownership of one’s mistakes and (most importantly) doing all you can to correct one’s errors and make it right. That means the person who was “wronged” has to be satisfied with the outcome. In the past few years, we’ve heard a lot more about accountability but we don’t see a lot of it, unless we’re talking about minor offenses. We see common criminals being arrested, charged, tried and sentenced all the time. But, those in high office who commit crimes and other offenses don’t seem to receive heavy punishment, if any at all. We see it on the news every week. Senator “So-and-so” commits a crime and gets a slap on the wrist. Congresswoman “So-and-so” refuses to comply with the law and, usually, nothing is done about it. It takes a huge public outcry before anyone will open an investigation into these matters. Then, the media and other political leaders will assure us that they will “get to the bottom of it … THIS TIME!” But any sane person knows that, no matter how they scream and carry on, nothing is ever going to be done. The investigation drags on, the public loses interest, and all talk of “justice” dies away. In the event that they are actually FORCED to do something (in order to silence the public), even then, the money comes from a fund (taxpayers’ money) specifically set aside for such a purpose. Yes, there is a “slush fund” in Washington to pay for blackmail, sex crimes, etc. It is under the umbrella of the (honorably named) Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) of 1995. If you don’t believe me, just look it up. Our elected officials can commit crimes and, even if they’re caught, YOU pay their fines. They never have to use their own money. Why should they, when they have yours? Since 1995, almost $20 million has been paid out of this fund for criminal activity by public servants in our capital. I’m not sure how you feel about this but, I am absolutely disgusted. The political “racket” (as I call it) is quite an amazing thing. They use your money (campaign donations) to get the job. They are paid with your taxpayer dollars to do the job. They send out money requests frequently, asking you to send more money so they can “fight for you” (for which they are already being handsomely paid a salary). They are paid a full retirement (with your money) even if they only serve one term. They make more money and receive much better benefits than you or I (although they are supposed to be our “servants”). And, to top it all off, if they’re caught doing something illegal, your money pays their way out of it. Even after they leave office, they are applauded, paid handsomely for their appearances and make millions writing books and giving speeches. It doesn’t seem to matter whether they were good or bad at their job. That’s quite a setup they have going for them, isn’t it? They seem to come out on top no matter what. The fact that they may have done an awful job doesn’t seem to have any bearing on their financial rewards. I wonder if there are any other jobs which operate like that? I would love to find out!

Author: Rachel Howell

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