It was 1965 and America was becoming more deeply embroiled in the war in Viet Nam. The L. A. Dodgers won the World Series that year. No one triumphed in the Super Bowl. It would be two years before the first game in that series would be played. And 1965 was the year that the EEOC came into being. (For those of you who are not familiar with Govspeak that is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).
Like so many government programs, this one began with a lot of fanfare and was charged with a high priority. It was empowered to seek out and punish evil doer employers who engaged in a practice of discrimination in their hiring or workplace practices. It sounds pretty noble. And obviously it does a good job of meeting its objectives – at least as far as one employer in particular is concerned. That company is Political Corruption, Unlimited.
One of the EEOC’s focuses is on discrimination based on race. This past week has revealed that three prominent politicians each have come under scrutiny and in two cases arrest, for corruption. One is white, one black and one of Chinese extraction. It just so happens that since the Commission was established, additional bases for discrimination have been added to its mandate – including discrimination based on sexual orientation. Our white politician happens to be gay.
Taking them in order of arrest, first we have the (now former) Speaker of Rhode Island’s lower house, Gordon Fox, our white, gay politician. The FBI descended on both this home and office and seized boxes of records belonging to the then Speaker. No charges have yet been made public – but apparently whatever it was that the Feds smelled in Fox’s affairs was sufficient to cause him to resign his position. Incidentally, under Fox’s guidance, Rhode Island managed to achieve the unique distinction of holding the record for the highest rate of unemployment in the country at 9.2%.
Next we have our black politician, Mayor Patrick Cannon who, until Wednesday, was the newly elected Mayor of Charlotte, N.C. The 48 year old mayor had only a few months on the job (disproving my theory that long terms in office tend to promote corruption. Apparently virtually no time in office is necessary to achieve that goal). The mayor was arrested after accepting a mere $48,000 in bribes. You might think that he has low expectations by being forced out of office for such a mere pittance – but take heart. He is accused of soliciting an additional one million dollars which he unfortunately did not receive. Well, hope springs eternal. The mayor like his Rhode Island counterpart also did the right thing and resigned his office.
Then there is Leland Yee – our Asian member of the triumvirate. He is a California State Senator, an unsuccessful candidate for Mayor of San Francisco and, until yesterday, a candidate for California’s Secretary of State. Disturbingly, he is also a child psychologist. (Can you imagine him offering your little one therapy?) He is also one of the most ardent advocates for gun control – in a state where children who own water pistols are considered felony criminals. So for what heinous crime was the senator arrested? Gun trafficking. Yes, our advocate for gun control was charged with attempting to arrange the procurement of assault weapons for gangs and other criminal elements. In Lee’s defense, two other members of the Senate resigned earlier this year, one on charges of corruption – the other on charges of voter fraud, so perhaps he’s merely a victim of local tradition. Must be something in the water.
In truth, the EEOC had nothing to do with any of these arrests. Those were brought about by the FBI. But my point was to show that corruption apparently knows no racial boundaries and people of any sexual orientation can allow themselves to be ensnared in the power of political office, focusing on their own personal gain rather than to accomplish the mission to serve those who elected them to office.
It would sound partisan of me to mention that all of those mentioned in this post happen to hold office under the banner of the Democratic Party – so I’m not going to say that. But with so many of our political representatives seeming to be content to include black hats in their wardrobe, it does make me wonder – are there any honest people left in the country? And what do they do for a living? Obviously it isn’t working in public office.