OPINION – What is corruption?
The word comes partially from a loose translation of Latin, that language they used to teach in high school to weed out the college-bound from the bar-bound.
The words “co,” “con” and “cor” in Latin mean “together” or “with.” “Ruption” means “broken” or “to break.” For all you Latin scholars out there, let me be hasty in pointing out that those definitions are rough. Were it not for the fact that I was a Latter-day Saint while taking Latin I would have been one of those bar-bound my sophomore year.
Corruption is simply something replete with breaks.
I submit to you that the cliché “Chicago politics” is outdated. It once was a slur to refer to the broken political system of that city; corruption was rampant in Chicago. Today we see people like President Obama and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and we still chant, nationwide, “Chicago politics.”
Perhaps we need not look to the eastern sky to see the red haze of corruption. Perhaps it is unnecessary to read the signals of that city’s political smoke screen to get a clear view of corruption. Maybe, just maybe, we could look a little closer to home.
Dare I actually use the phrase to describe political corruption? I shall. I fear the Chicago political machine far less than I fear “Utah politics.” Utah politics are broken.
I shall not delve into the John Swallow matter in any depth. It speaks for itself. A local man, Jeremy Johnson, raised concerns about corruption in “high places” with respect to Swallow. Some pointed fingers at Johnson with a jaundiced eye. Then a marvelous number of others announced their perceptions of the impropriety of Swallow. Well, now today, we have a cautious legislative investigation into this corruption. And our best response was: “Yeah, our local legislator is the chair of the committee.” I say “was” because Rep. V. Lowry Snow did resign as chairman of the House Special Investigative Committee yesterday.
What do we get from the attorney general? “You can’t impeach me, I’m special.” Then we begin hearing stories that he may sue the state over his civil rights being violated due to the investigation. Now the Attorney General’s Office can’t even continue with the prosecution of Marc Sessions Jenson, a man who is already facing felony charges. Why? Because the attorney general is implicated in conduct related to those charges.
Seriously? Really? When a man can’t do the job he has been specifically elected to do because of improprieties, isn’t that sufficient reason for impeachment? I say yes!
The derogative on the political wordscape is “Utah politics.” Chicago will be sending their thank-you note soon.
Swallow has consistently sought ways to evade his accountability. His rhetoric makes civil people choke on everything this guy tries to get us to swallow. There is much better available to the state. One example is Snow of Southern Utah‘s District 74.
“My top concern with the investigation of Attorney General Swallow was that it be conducted with integrity and transparency. I felt it was in the best interests of the committee to step aside in order to avoid any perception of conflict of interest,” Snow said. “This will allow the public to focus on the investigation, and not on who is doing the investigating.”
Now, that is how a integrity-gifted representative of the people should act.
But Swallow does not sit atop the corruption tree as a lone vulture. It is crowded.
Utah’s Lt. Gov. Greg Bell has had his own share of legal issues dealing with the universal subject of corruption, along with various other departments of the state.
The Department of Health, with a clearly trumped-up set of fallacious conclusions, forced one of our local businesses to close. Their real reasons, when the bureaucratic jargon is stripped away, had nothing to do with quality of service Dixie Ambulance provided. The foundation of their rushed judgment was over technical mathematical calculations. The result? Routine complaints from patients and medical professionals about the new service. The state’s pandering politicians “broke” was working.
The impetus behind the bureaucratic mess was that one of our own local state senators appears to have snuck around behind the scenes, pulling strings. Yet, in his Swallow-like rationale, he does not believe that lobbying for one company that pays him is somehow wrong. So let’s set the record straight.
- The local community elects a man. He then campaigns for a Salt Lake City corporation to drive a local business out of existence.
- A state senator votes on the budget of a state agency. He then lobbies that department to fulfill his fantasy of punishing his constituents.
- The local constituent that is driven out of business registers complaints about the senator and runs for public office. A Salt Lake news station decides to humiliate the constituent by running a news story on the evening news that even the National Enquirer would be ashamed to run (this writer believes connections exist between the Salt Lake News station and the state senator).
The state electoral process has run very nicely for many years with the caucus system. Yet, because a former governor and his Republican elite friends are dissatisfied that citizens express their views, what happens? A massive effort, supported tacitly by high-ranking state officials, funds a campaign to force the people out of the caucus system. Why? Because the wealthy desire to simply “buy votes” with expensive media campaigns when they are out of touch with the community’s values. Oh wait, I forgot: That is why Swallow raised so much money.
If we are not careful, 20 years from now the disdain the public has now for “Chicago politics” will have changed to their opinion of “Utah politics.”
That is the WAY I see It.
William Way is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News. Additional writings may be found at wwwjr.wordpress.com.
- Snow resigns as chair of AG Investigation, replaced by Dunnigan; no Southern Utah representation
- Committee selected for AG investigation, Democrats and Republicans respond
- Governor calls Special Legislative Session to equip investigation of AG Swallow
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