The Professor was pleased with his class. It might be the best class I have ever had. All eight students are learning how to think outside the box and are articulate in presenting their views. Today, I’ll do the work. He looked over his class, notebooks open and wondering what the topic would be today. Half the fun of teaching was keeping the students guessing. He doubted that any of them were thinking about the impact of corruption on the democratic process.
The Professor walked over to the floor to ceiling window and looked out over the Bay. He loved the view and felt he did his best thinking staring out over the ever-changing scene. The feeling was humbling. His mind rambled over questions he wasn’t equipped to answer and never would be. Existence, origin, change without change, the meshing of infinite forces, all forever beyond human understanding, helped him put his role into perspective. Pushing those thoughts into the background of his mind, he said, “Democracy and the freedom it allows are not guaranteed. It was crafted by some very brave and thoughtful people who did their best to protect the governing process they had fought for. Democracy is constantly assailed by powerful forces. We have talked about some of those. The danger of the growth in size and scope of government, the inroads on the ‘rule of law,’ the limits on the freedom of individuals to achieve their own goals, and the breakdown of the checks and balances enumerated in the Constitution.
“Today, I want to talk about a more insidious danger to democracy. Corruption in the political process of governing, I believe, today is a very great danger to democracy and the freedom it needs to exist. Our founders knew there would always be greedy people seeking power and wealth by getting around the restraints imposed by following the law and regulatory procedures. There are several examples of abuse by elected and appointed officials in our history.
“When corruption is found, it must be destroyed. Otherwise, it is like a cancer and will spread throughout public and private organizations. Corruption begins when people believe they cannot achieve their selfish goals without putting themselves above the law. Whether this is a result of personal or ideological goals, it is still corruption and must be harshly dealt with. When the governed lose faith and trust in their leaders, the existing government will fall.
“Your assignment for our next class is to identify an instance of corruption in our government and present your solution to the problem. I do not want a term paper, just a short oral presentation and discussion.”
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