Shrewd or Corrupt?

According to, shrewd is defined as astute or sharp in practical matters, keen, piercing, and artful, while corrupt is defined as guilty of dishonest practices, lacking integrity, crooked, debased in character, wicked, evil, to destroy integrity of, and to lower morally.  The shame is that corrupt practices can be seen as shrewd when in fact they are not.  Are some supporting corruption because they think they’re supporting shrewd?

The United States of America has been known around the world for its virtue and its commitment to democracy making it difficult for autocrats to take over the world.  We had a reputation for honest dealings, morality, respect for the common good, duty to God and country, helping others, high values and scrupulous ethics.  This statement may be seen as a naive sense of morality that no longer exists or that may have never existed, but it was an ideal to live up to.

It seems that corrupt acts have become more acceptable to mainstream Americans in both business and politics.  In an article called, Despite the recent scandals, ‘business ethics’ isn’t a contradiction in terms by Janna Thompson (The Drum, 10/5/2015), the author states that “…virtue generally rewards companies, at least in societies where corruption is not rife.”  That is good news for us, unless we are becoming rife with corruption.  Are we in danger?

We must be vigilant by creating a system that supports ethical behavior.  The author continues, ethics, however, may fail “…when there is a direct conflict between the needs of a business and doing the right thing.  If the survival of a company depends on cutting ethical corners, then the temptations to do so will be very strong.  Unethical behavior is more prevalent in small businesses or franchises where profit margins are small and survival is always in doubt.  Big corporations are generally in a better position to act ethically.  But their ethical probity can be undermined by a culture that encourages, aggressive, risk-taking behavior.   It is ironic that the competitive risk-taking, unregulated economy that many politicians want to encourage is an environment conductive to unethical behavior.”

We must hold our business and political leaders accountable by rewarding ethical behavior and punishing corrupt practices.  Corrupt practices are unacceptable in our democracy!  Is our current leader shrewd or corrupt?




Democrats Defined???

President Trump and some other Republicans try to define what it means to be a Democrat and to state what Democrats supposedly believe.  As a lifelong Democrat, I find it puzzling that others seem to think they know what I am thinking and am disheartened by its erroneousness and its derogatory tone.  I was prompted to explore this line of thinking by the following statement posted by one of my Facebook friends.

It states that, “You can call Trump a bully, racist, zenophobe [sic], liar, islamaphobe [sic], fascist and even a Cheeto.  THE TRUTH IS, you hate him because he is a white conservative Christian, an outsider who’s exposing ALL of the Democratic corruption in Washington, and he’s KICKING ASS for the American people (right_winning)”

First all I don’t hate white people or any people just for the color of their skin.  Secondly, I don’t hate conservatives, even though Trump is not really a conservative (just ask some true conservatives).  Thirdly, I certainly do not hate Christians, because I am a practicing Christian.  Finally, there is all kinds of corruption going on in Washington, sadly its entrenched on both sides.

THE TRUTH IS that the American government has been taken over by wealthy elites who are both Republican and Democratic.  They are so far removed from average Americans that many don’t even realize the damage they are doing to America.  It is ashame that average Americans are being divided by false statements and news sources with an agenda.  If we only understood that average Americans are by far the majority and worked together, we would be a great force of change.  How can we find common ground?

Big vs Small Government? What About Smart Government?

People seem to throw out the terms big government and small government without looking deeper to see what these terms really mean.  Many seem to believe in generalities like big government impedes on their personal freedom and gives their hard-earned money to lazy poor people.  But, government is necessary to provide rules for how we live together as a society.  Our representative democracy allows us to have input through voting for and contacting our Congressmen and Senators.

President Thomas Jefferson said that a “…wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.”

The government restrains “…men from injuring one another” through regulations like inspecting meat processing plants, pollution control, product safety rules and law enforcement just to name a few.  If profit is the only measure of success, safety is often overlooked.

The Department of Labor, for instance, regulates minimum wages, working conditions and child labor so that men “shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.”  Lately, however, collective bargaining has been greatly diminished and many do not earn a livable wage for full-time work.

Without government regulation there would be no protection from careless practices and for fair wages.  There is, seemingly, a tendency in human nature to do what is best for “you and yours” with complete disregard for the other.  The religions of the world recognize this shortcoming in human beings and try to reach the higher self of each soul in order to treat others as they would want to be treated (the Golden Rule).

William Golding in Lord of the Flies, demonstrates what happens when rampant self-centeredness and underdeveloped empathy lacks the wisdom of a teacher and keeper of the norms.  Life became uncivilized and ruthless.

The answer isn’t big or small government, its smart and compassionate government.  I find it interesting that some small government proponents who do not want their personal freedoms impeded, want to tell others who they can love and who they can worship.


My hope has been restored by watching interviews of 2020 democratic presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren and of the newly elected democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.  Both women prioritized affordable healthcare for all, campaign finance reform, immigration policy reform, protecting voter’s rights, fair wages and an economy that works for all, and repairing the infrastructure among other important issues for our democracy.  All of these issues are or should be bipartisan in that they are needed to heal our country in a way that will benefit everyone not just the few.

Of course, this will not be easy, especially since we are in the middle of a partial government shutdown.  A shutdown imposed by the President to pressure the congress into approving funding for a southern border wall that 60-75% of Americans oppose.  Right now, around 800,000 government workers are not being paid as they are being used as pawns while the terms of this dispute are being discussed.  These people have to suffer as the President tries to keep a campaign promise that he has already lost.  He promised that Mexico would pay for the “wall” and that is not happening.  He now wants American taxpayers to pay for the wall, a wall that most don’t want, a wall that is overkill and, ultimately, unnecessary.

According to Robert Reich, Professor of Public Policy and former Secretary of Labor, immigration is good for America.  He put forth the “Seven Truths about Immigration” in one of his short videos at   These truths are as follows.

  1. 75% of Americans say immigrations is a good thing.
  2. America needs immigrants as our population is rapidly aging.
  3. New immigrants contribute more in taxes than they take in public assistance.
  4. Immigrants don’t take American jobs, in fact their spending creates more jobs.
  5. Immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than the native-born.
  6. In fact, crime is at an all time low.
  7. Illegal border crossings have been declining for years.

Everyone is for border security and effective immigration policy.  The idea of a wall that runs the entire southern border is impractical and a waste of time and money.  Hopefully, we can get through this impasse quickly and move on to healing our country with more important matters.  One can only hope…