The Emperor's New Clothes (pt. 2)

Anonyme, Dimanche, Août 22, 2010 - 10:46

Sudhama Ranganathan

The will power behind misguided actions can be powerful to behold. A glassy eyed individual who believes their behavior is righteous although all information around them says otherwise can be frightening. It is close to the look of one who knows they are doing the right thing except for the tinge of delusion.

We need only look to todays headlines for examples of this. Some of our leaders try so hard to convince us misdeeds they had a hand in supporting are somehow justified. No longer do we fret over a statement with spin on it. We just wonder how much spin there is and in what direction it's being spun. Straight talk from our leaders on Capitol Hill is refreshing, but can be hard to find as it is in much of the discussion about The Iraq War.

Of course abuse of power isn't limited to elected officials. Another example might be in the story of public school teacher Debra LaFave. Ms. LaFave betrayed the trust of students in her care, the parents who sent their children to her and the institution which entrusted her with it's rules. She knowingly broke the law in seducing her students, and became an example of someone using power to pursue an agenda contrary to what the public expects them to. It's a shallow story but shows how far away from our trust a government employee can travel on a self centered and misguided will.

Law enforcement agents who stray from justice become another such example. When CIA officer Jose Rodriguez was commanded by his superiors to destroy tapes of shady interrogation tactics he followed orders. In following directives he suspected were questionable Mr. Rodriguez broke his oath to uphold the laws of his country. As an employee of the CIA his actions represent American values to the world. We can only hope the ensuing investigation reflects better on who Americans really are when finished.

Any argument Mr. Rodriguez was just following orders falls short as he could have declined to destroy the evidence and reported the matter through proper channels. We are all flawed no doubt, but the job of protecting a civilized society should be left to those who have the internal constitution to do jobs most of us would not including standing up for what is lawful. If asked to break U.S. laws they should have the backbone to stand their ground and report those orders. Anyone who claims to work in the interest of the country and simultaneously condones subverting it's laws is surely mistaken.

America is defined by how we adhere to our constitution and has remained a shining example of a free society to the rest of the world. Anything less degrades our history and our reality and runs the risk of becoming a cheap marketing slogan. We must not let that happen.

That Mr. Rodriguez is moving towards cooperating with authorities is a good sign . I also hope whoever gave the order to break the law gets turned in. When law enforcement officers give such orders the public should know. I am positive this is just the first example of post 9/11 lawlessness to become public. The year 2008 holds much promise.

For three years I dealt with harassment, discrimination and abuse at the hands of government employees at The University of Connecticut's Landscape Architecture Department. Although the circumstances were a bit different from those listed above I witnessed abuse of power by government employees first hand.

It was absolutely baffling to watch people entrusted with the good of the public forsake their duties for so little. Taxpayer dollars were thrown at petty agendas, and completely criminal acts were sold as behavior which would never be prosecuted. Fortunately for all those who suffered or will suffer at the hands of government employees at the university I attended I am making sure my experiences become a permanent part of the public record. Our government still has dark places where criminal acts go unseen, but with diligence and persistence light can be shed on those areas. Sometimes shedding a little light is the best way to see justice. Stay tuned the light switch is just around the corner.

To read more about my experiences at the University of Connecticut click here.

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