The corruption of local government in America is a bane to the entire existence of America. It is a hallow thing to claim any patriotism toward our country while we let our interior be ravaged by corruption. We have little to teach other countries about good government and the blessing of liberty if we ourselves do not keep our own governments in check. We tend to have a habit of blaming the people in government for this failing, but that is not the truth. This is our own personal failing. This is the failing of the American people who have failed to participate in government and insure that our own local governments are in proper order. Have we forgotten that we live in one political union? The affairs of all Americans are our personal affairs. Corruption grows and spreads like a virus. We have a duty to ourselves and our children to rectify this. But, for us to truly understand the nature of this problem, we must first understand how it arises.
How does local corruption occur?
There are four components that give rise to local corruption in the United States.
- The size of the municipality
- Condition of the local economy
- Political culture*
Scranton, Pennsylvania provides a great example of how all these components converge to create a corrupt environment. The City of Scranton is the third biggest city in Pennsylvania but has a population of only 76,000. This is a 41% reduction from its peak. It was a coal mining city that prospered during the rise of anthracite coal as a fuel of choice for energy use. When the coal market collapse, they city collapsed with it. Instead of innovating and finding new means of providing employment, the city of Scranton languished into a political culture of malfeasance, nepotism and fraud. The government of Scranton governs solely to reward the members of the government and their affiliates. The Government leaves the roads in decay, houses dilapidated, and infrastructure in sore disrepair. This is all while the government workers maintain lofty salaries and retire millionaires. The education of population is said to be the reason for why the local government gets away with this. I contend it has more to do with the culture of acceptance that has been propagated to the people of Scranton. They have what is called “learned helplessness”. Learned helplessness occurs when a person resides to a condition after repeated attempts to improve their condition. They ultimately believe that there is no hope of improvement. This of course is not true. It only exists in the mind of the person;they cannot see the solutions that lay before them. What we see is a complacency that becomes self-perpetuating. Nothing changes because no one attempts to change things, and thus nothing changes, and so on and so forth. We as Americans have seemingly forgotten that we are the fundamental component of this entire country. It is us who employ the members of the government and it is us who pay their wages. Our rights are to insure that the government, whether it be the Scranton government or New York government, does the will and bidding of the people. If we accept anything else, it is our fault. Our words are not enough. If we are not putting forth action then we are being complicit to the corruption that prevails. And in this respect, we have no moral grounds to condemn any other government if our own house is out of order. #SaveScranton