6/13/17

In past centuries in Japan, a public official who failed to do his job would commit Hara-kiri.

I remember that happening even as late as the end of the 20th century once or twice.

You do not hear about such things any more.

Now, taking one’s life simply for failing to do one’s job successfully is a bit extreme. However, the complete lack of accountability and public courage that is now the norm in Western society, and the US in particular, is shameful.

Even as late as a year ago, UK Prime Minster David Cameron, fresh from an unexpected and impressive election triumph just twelve month before, resigned; taking responsibility for the outcome of a referendum that went against his recommendation. He did not have to resign; it was a referendum on a difficult issue and not on his performance in the job. Actually, on balance, the pressure on him was to stay and carry out the referendum decision, but he took personal responsibility and resigned. Yet, less than a year later, the new prime minister who replaced him committed the biggest error possible in political terms by calling for an early election—early by THREE years out of a mandate of five—and losing. Yet, she clings to power as if it is her birthright.

In the US, the lack of public courage and accountability has been the norm for as long as I can remember and it is cancerous.

I wrote before about this subject:

  • In “Leon Panetta, an UNWORTHY Man” I said that: “The culture of administration officials appearing before the public and Congress while they serve and defend the decisions of the president that they think are serious mistakes, go on serving him until they retire and then publish their memoirs disclosing to great public aplomb how mistaken the president was/is, is simply corrupt”
  • “Jamie Dimon Should Resign”
  • In “On Public Courage and the Oil Spill” I said that: “At times when the consensus view driven by the media is the same as the one represented by the administration, the two together are just too strong to stand up against and that is very dangerous. Therefore, I say to public figures: you should have the courage to be outspoken, to make clear the differences you have with the consensus even if it is difficult, even if it requires courage, otherwise the political discourse in this country will be shaped by the media-driven consensus which is so wrong so often.”

Unfortunately, nothing has changed.

Take Hillary Clinton as an example—she brought the term “I take full responsibility” to new heights of meaninglessness. Whether following the disaster in Benghazi where she declared that she takes full responsibility and then… nothing…or if it was regarding the e-mail scandal when she also declared that she takes full responsibility and continued as if nothing happened or, of course, following the elections when she also says that she was responsible for the campaign (how gracious of her) only to proceed to tell us all why it was not her fault that she lost.

When you, as a public figure, take responsibility for a serious debacle, it means that you need to resign. There are no two ways about it. Just saying it means nothing. Taking responsibility means taking action and if the issue is big enough, the only action for a public persona is to resign (not commit hara-kiri, mind you).

Having said all that, the new king of public cowardliness and lack of personal accountability is James Comey.

How can you stand there as the director of the FBI, a once highly respected prosecutor, someone whose claim to fame was that he was prepared to resign and threatened to do just that when he thought that the Bush Administration was acting inappropriately—how can you stand there and tell us that time and time again you were faced with pressure from your superiors (both AG Lynch and President Trump) and just wilted? It made you feel uncomfortable…you poor thing….

Yet, now, after you have been fired, suddenly you regain your public courage and are coming out swinging, trying to malign the same person who you lacked the courage to stand up to. That is nonsense and using a leak to the media instead of confronting things directly is another weasel work.

Comey’s performance was disgusting and should have resulted in a public outrage and a media battering at how he corrupted the standards of public officials by not standing up to power.

Instead, the media makes him a hero, because everything for the media is Anti-Trump focused; if you are against Trump, you are a hero—no matter how villainous you really are.

Where is this country going to?