Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Retribution



Is Lynching Really A Bad Thing?


I am going to rant for a while....

There is something that has been really bugging me. It has been growing and not diminishing over time. It just keeps getting worse.

It is the concept that no one is accountable for their actions. You can make a mistake and be forgiven. No foul, no harm done. I understand that this had a certain logic in the past. Forgiveness was divine, tolerance and patience were a virtue . But like so many things in our lives, this concept has been corrupted over time. The lack of accountablility has become so ridiculous that it has direct adverse consequences on all of us.

I first started thinking about this when the whole illegal immigration debate started heating up last year. I live in the American Southwest where illegal immigrants from Mexico are a daily way of life. They are ingrained into the economy and we couldn't live without them. The folks that don't want them here endlessly debate how to 'get rid of them' or how the laws need to be changed.

This raised a question in my mind. Instead of how to deal with the problem, why aren't we looking at what caused it in the first place. Where was the proper funding for the border patrol back in the 1970s? Who was in charge of the INS at the time, how much money did they request from Congress and was it approved? Were there reports documenting the increase in illegal crossings? If so, where did they go and who made the decision NOT to act on them?

Many will say that it does little good to look for the lack of management or leadership in past and to deal with the problems as of today. To that statement I say, "bullshit". If there is no accountability in the past, what motivation do the current people in charge have to make the correct decisions. They know that if they fail, they won't be held accountable for the failure that the public entrusted them to prevent.

This same scenario is repeated in the news on a daily basis with people arguing over how to fix a problem that should never have been allowed to fester in the first place.

Corporate CEOs at Enron, Home Depot and Cessna are making millions of dollars a year in compensation while running their companies into the ground. Where are the federal regulators and Board of Directors 'before' the companies collapse?

Several years ago, in the Arizona legislature, a state senator put forth a bill that was approved by the house, the senate and signed by the governor. This bill allowed Arizona citizens to receive a tax break on vehicles that were converted to propane power. Only problem was, everyone wanted the tax break, everyone started converting to propane and the state went bankrupt. The next election year the senator was booted from office and promptly went to work for a propane distributor. Where was the oversight in state government that allowed all these senators, representatives and even the Governor to allow this debacle to happen? No one served any jail time and the senator that pushed the bill through was 'investigated' by the Attorney General who found nothing improper. The end result is that our elected government threw away almost 800 million dollars of taxpayer money. Those legislators are all retired now and living on state pensions. Does this seem right?

My wife and I are fixing up an old house in an historic neighborhood. Needless to say, there isn't much standard on our house (it is 70 years old) and finding a competent contractor to do work on the home has been next to impossible. There is a housing boom in the desert southwest, but most of the homes are built by unskilled labor from cookie-cutter parts found at Home Depot. Contractors are more than willing to take your time to meet with you, but when they find out that they will actually have to do some 'work' and not just plug something in, they quickly back out the door. If I take off 10 hours of work, at $20 an hour, only to find out that the contractor can't do didly for me (even though he said he could), should HE be paying me for my lost wages?

Some of the other scenerios that have stocked my fire recently are:

-Contractors make appointments to give estimates and never show up.

-Retailers sold us furniture, promising deliver in 3 weeks. After 3 months we call to find out they sold the stock to someone else instead and never told us.

-A car dealership takes 4 weeks to do simple maintenance on a vehicle, fails to correct any of the problems and then forgets to reinstall engine components.

-I have uncovered massive failure to collect required data at my job, and when pointed out, no one is tasked to clean it up or reprimanded for not doing their job (albeit, this is government work, not the private sector).

The overriding issue here appears to be a 'push' toward mediocrity where no one is held accountable and if they are, it is generally done in committee where nothing is really accomplished.

The rights of the individual to cover up their bad mistakes, declare bankruptcy, drop their 'failed' jobs from their resume has undermined us all. We have forgotten that living in a society means that certain individual rights are forgone for the good of the group as a whole. In order to reap the benefits of health care, police protection, sewage removal, and well lighted streets, we have to give up our individual rights to start fires where ever we want, disobey laws, throw litter everywhere and fail to yield to ambulances.

If you want to live a life free of responsibility, move to Wyoming or Alaska and live in the wilderness where you are the master of all you survey. If you choose to live within a society, set forth laws that promote the good of the whole (not the individual), tax the populace to fund the infrastructure for them and then ENFORCE them. Living within a society means the loss of some individuality. That is the price we all pay for the benefits of society.

This concept has been lost with the advent of not holding those accountable for the mistakes that they have made. Those that aspire to rise to public office or law enforcement need to be made aware, that if they fail because of their own stupidity (and not by circumstance) they will be brutally held accountable. They are given a public trust to do what is best for all of us and the generations that follow. I do not understand why they can be allowed to walk away while our children suffer because of their actions (or inactions)

Is it just me, or shouldn't we all be mad as hell? I know I get more angry every day.