The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Photo credit: Nick Shockey / nshockey.express@gmail.com
A letter from the editor
February 6, 2024

Power, corruption and lies: the myth of ethical politics

The exploration of ethics in politics is one that has occurred for just about as long as man has contemplated his very existence. From Plato’s exploration of ethics and justice in “Republic” several millennia ago, to today’s current political climate in which a call for political campaign reform is gaining ground, mankind continues to grapple with this idea of ethics in politics. With political scandals and individual corruption in both local and national government agencies, there is little evidence to suggest or support that there is such a thing as ethical politics.

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One need only read newspapers, blogs and other media to see the evidence of the perversion of Plato’s political ideal in both the national and local sphere of government. From California Rep. Randall “Duke” Cunningham’s 2005 federal conviction for accepting at least $2.5 million in bribes, mail
fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion, to the 2007 investigation of what the LA Times called Karl Rove’s “improper political influence over government decision-making,” it appears that as long as politicians go unchecked by the public and the media, so will corruption.
According to a 2006 Gallup Poll, 50 percent of Americans consider most members of Congress to be corrupt. The most pervasive reason for this staggering negative opinion is due to the ethical implications of campaign finance, the idea that “the money changing hands gives special interest groups undue influence in the halls of government.”
Money and politics don’t mix and when elected officials knowingly take contributions from groups who expect, and more often than not receive, some kind of political favor in return, it goes against the ideals of government by the people for the people.
While many abhor the current state of politics in this country, many Americans seem resigned to the fact that this problem persists. According to an October 2000 Gallup Poll, only 28 percent of Americans were optimistic that our elected officials could succeed in reducing the power of special interests in the nation’s capital.
It’s difficult to find anyone who believes that the government behaves in an ethical and honest manner. In “The Republic,” Plato argues that philosophers should be our rulers as they know what is good and they do not want to rule.
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Plato believed that the “problem with existing cities is correspondingly twofold. They are ruled by people who are ignorant of what is good, and they suffer from strife among citizens all of whom want to rule.”
Any philosophers out there who want to run for political office? I’m willing to give them a shot at it since many of those who are currently in power have yet to prove they are truly working for the constituents who elected them and not the special interest groups looking to affect policy for their own financial gain.

The exploration of ethics in politics is one that has occurred for just about as long as man has contemplated his very existence. From Plato’s exploration of ethics and justice in “Republic” several millennia ago, to today’s current political climate in which a call for political campaign reform is gaining ground, mankind continues to grapple with this idea of ethics in politics. With political scandals and individual corruption in both local and national government agencies, there is little evidence to suggest or support that there is such a thing as ethical politics.

One need only read newspapers, blogs and other media to see the evidence of the perversion of Plato’s political ideal in both the national and local sphere of government. From California Rep. Randall “Duke” Cunningham’s 2005 federal conviction for accepting at least $2.5 million in bribes, mail

fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion, to the 2007 investigation of what the Los Angeles Times called Karl Rove’s “improper political influence over government decision-making,” it appears that as long as politicians go unchecked by the public and the media, so will corruption.

According to a 2006 Gallup Poll, 50 percent of Americans consider most members of Congress to be corrupt. The most pervasive reason for this staggering negative opinion is due to the ethical implications of campaign finance, the idea that “the money changing hands gives special interest groups undue influence in the halls of government.”

Money and politics don’t mix and when elected officials knowingly take contributions from groups who expect, and more often than not receive, some kind of political favor in return, it goes against the ideals of government by the people for the people.

While many abhor the current state of politics in this country, many Americans seem resigned to the fact that this problem persists. According to an October 2000 Gallup Poll, only 28 percent of Americans were optimistic that our elected officials could succeed in reducing the power of special interests in the nation’s capital.

It’s difficult to find anyone who believes that the government behaves in an ethical and honest manner. In “Republic,” Plato argues that philosophers should be our rulers as they know what is good and they do not want to rule.

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Plato believed that the “problem with existing cities is correspondingly twofold. They are ruled by people who are ignorant of what is good, and they suffer from strife among citizens all of whom want to rule.”

Any philosophers out there who want to run for political office? I’m willing to give them a shot at it since many of those who are currently in power have yet to prove they are truly working for the constituents who elected them and not the special interest groups looking to affect policy for their own financial gain.

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