When I was in India in 2004, there were many, many things that were a culture shock to me. One in particular was the traffic. It's so thick that on the way to work in the evening (I was working the North American schedule – eleven and a half hours behind India) that we never got above 30 miles per hour (at 4 AM it was a different story…). After night after a particularly slow trip to work, one of the people I worked with asked how fast I drive in when I drive to work in the US. I told them that it was not unusual for me to go 80 or 85 MPH. They asked what the speed limits are, and I said that I drive as fast as I can afford. They didn't get it so I elaborated that as long as I didn't have too many tickets on my record I could afford to drive over the speed limit.
"But that is against the law." One of the Indians said to me.
"Yes," I tried to explain, "but as long as I have enough points on my license and I can afford the fine there's no reason to drive slower than I want to as long as I'm not being reckless."
She persisted. "But why would you intentionally break the law?"
Someone came and got me at that point and further saved me from labeling myself a criminal. The conversation has stuck with me through the last few years as an example of the culture clash between a moral relativist society (ours) and a karmic society (theirs). While I was in India I remember seeing several PC monitors with a scrolling screen saver that said "Integrity is doing the right thing – especially when no one is watching." This lesson historically has been lost on me with regard to speed limits (ok, even not so recently…I am going to traffic court at the end of September) and it is lost on much of our society. Most disturbingly, we are led by people at all levels of our government who hold more than just the laws regarding traffic speed with contempt. Witness:
- Rod Blagojevich (attempted to sell Obama's vacant Senate seat)
- Tom Daschle (tax problems – only came to light after his name came up as a potential for the DHS cabinet post)
- Tim Geithner (tax problems – only paid when he was named to the treasury post)
- Bill Richardson (pay for play scandal – only came up when he was being considered for commerce secretary)
- Barack Obama (left 15 of 17 parking tickets in Cambridge, Mass unpaid until he got serious about running for President in 2007)
- Most recently, David Axelrod may be getting $2 million from his former company, Phrma, which just worked a behind-closed-doors deal with Obama in a follow-the-money tale worthy of any Cheney-Haliburton rants the liberals love so much.
It seems the Democrat motto is "Integrity is doing the right thing ONLY when other people are looking."
To be sure, there are people on both sides of the aisle who violate the law or other moral standards. Republican Senator Larry Craig was arrested for lewd behavior in a public bathroom, placing him in the illustrious company of Paul "Pee Wee Herman" Reubens and singer George Michael. No Democrat would ever let us forget Nixon. However, I don't recall such a large number of tax dodgers and bribe takers ever associated with one party, let alone one person.
The Democrats want us to believe that the government is the solution to all of our problems. Obama has said as much in one of his first televised speeches. It seems to me that rather than the solution, government is part of the problem, and this administration keeps pushing more of it down our throats. Obama says that the key to our economic recovery is health care reform (it was the stimulus, but once that passed, the blame had to move to the next bill that needed to be passed). While I agree that our health insurance industry is fraught with issues, I think the government is the system that is sick and needs medical attention. With the number of pols getting caught for their legal transgressions, how many haven't been caught? Like a cancer patient, our government has become rank with tumors and now it's time to operate. Only when we've removed the cancerous politicians and replaced them with healthy, fresh ones who believe you should do the right thing especially when no one is looking, will we have a shot at healing the rest of our country's problems.
The great thing in all of this is that you and I are the surgeons here. We operate with our right to vote, and if we use it wisely we can bring this patient back from the brink of death. Surgery is scheduled for November 2010…will you be ready to operate?