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We ask to be deceived and are obliged.

Posted Tuesday, December 13, 2011, at 8:21 PM

America has always been periodically betrayed by business and political leaders who abused their power, but the further we go in history, the more we see one malefactor after another dragged into the merciless glare of publicity for unduly enriching himself or engaging in personal improprieties. The list is long and dismal and my purpose is rather to contemplate the phenomenon and its portent.

I don't know much about business, but I expect the same values are at work there as in politics, where we use superficialities like celebrity, articulacy and adherence to narrow philosophical parameters to pick our decision-makers. We go through long campaigns without finding out who these people are because character is deemed irrelevant. We ask to be deceived and are obliged. We need men like Jackson, Eisenhower, Truman and Rayburn, who served their country nobly. They're still around, just chary of this arena.

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James R. Campbell
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