How exactly did they get there?

“With Castelmaine (Roger Palmer, Earl of Castelmaine in Ireland) was allied one of the most favoured of his wife’s hundred lovers, Henry Jermyn, whom James had lately created a peer by the title of Lord Dover. Jermyn had been distinguished more than twenty years before by his vagrant amours and his desperate duels. He was now ruined by play, and was eager to retrieve his fallen fortunes by means of lucrative posts from which the laws excluded him. To the same party belonged an intriguing pushing Irishman named White, who had been much abroad, who had served the House of Austria as something between an envoy and a spy, and who had been rewarded for his services with the title of Marquess of Albeville.

Excerpt From: Thomas Babington Macaulay Macaulay. “The History of England, from the Accession of James II — Volume 2.”

Where did we get it into our heads that politicians were beyond graft? It is a colloquial now so common that it warrants the cryptic observation, “Sucking on the big tit!

Graft, as understood in American English, is a form of political corruption defined as the unscrupulous use of a politician’s authority for personal gain. Political graft occurs when funds intended for public projects are intentionally misdirected in order to maximize the benefits to private interests.

Political graft functions when the public officer is directed to purchase goods or services from a specific private interest at a cost far above regular market rates. The private interest then siphons some of the gratuitous profits to government officials who are able to ensure that future government spending continues in the same fashion so that this lucrative relationship continues. A member of a government may misappropriate directly from government funds, but they may also make decisions benefiting their own private economic interests by using inside knowledge of upcoming government decisions to their benefit, in a manner similar to insider trading.

We may not like it but the devotion to survival is a hard act to contradict. Where corruption pertains our tolerance is understandably less enthusiastic. We should however concede that this hesitancy is pointedly inspired by self-righteousness. Though the probability of our political involvement is minimal we knowingly cling to the moral belief that we would never allow ourselves to succumb to such indignity.

Historically the transition of politicians from the Jimmy Stewart image to cockroach is as predictable as the switch of a Conservative court justice to a renegade. Things change with time; and not one of us is spared the evolution whether to good or bad. Darwin was right! We’re a product of our environment; and in order to get what we want we generally play by the rules that nourish our innermost desires.

James Maitland Stewart (May 20, 1908 – July 2, 1997) was an American actor. Known for his distinctive drawl and everyman screen persona, Stewart’s film career spanned 80 films from 1935 to 1991. With the strong morality he portrayed both on and off the screen, he epitomized the “American ideal” in the twentieth century. In 1999, the American Film Institute (AFI) ranked him third on its list of the greatest American male actors.

The constant public image of politicians and others of similar stage presence produces by necessity a combination of commitment, persuasion and deceit.  The extent of one’s prosperity and persistence depends upon popular advantage (votes) and corporate support (money).  Paring the two ingredients frequently contaminates an otherwise noble ambition. Thanks to the media retail interest in capturing the latest betrayal of support and insinuation of grease, the masses are portrayed as pigs at the the trough when it comes to “dirt” and “discredit”. The pretence of behaviour is magically absorbed into a collage of entertainment.

It is effortless at the end of one’s life to reconsider all that has transpired; and perhaps to offer what we sometimes mistakenly fashion as wisdom. What taints this mature sagacity is the lack of the unparalleled ingredients of youth; which is to say, pep and vigour, muscle strength, a stern back and the appetite of all 5 senses (sight, sound, smell. taste and touch).  Sometimes the p&V is for physical exercise or performance; at times it is an avarice for jewellery, furnishings or fashion; hardware like real estate, cars and electronic equipment are another attraction. To deny these seductions is pointless. Here the governing environment is native voracity. And at times shameless pretence; namely, putting on airs.

To maintain buoyancy in these troubled waters one must adapt or fail. Adaptation is not merely submission. Nor is it superiority. Rather learning to live with it.  As stand-up comedian and television host Bill Maher lately commented, the most important three words in an amorous relationship are not “I love you” but “Let it go!”  If you haven’t already noticed, most of us never change.  For those who do change, the imperative is often not the model or theory being propounded but the persuasion of bribery. It is nonetheless a selective domain.  Not having been party to such profitable alliances (which I will globally identify as political or corporate) I am guessing that the colloquy engenders an arrogance of entitlement. To deny oneself that advantage is as uphill a battle as the amendment is a downhill slide. Who am I to say? Nor is it entirely sustainable to be accounted, “A pretty vase; but an empty one!”