Corruption everywhere

My favorite TV show is Leverage on TNT.  Just so good.

There’s a scene in the second episode of season one (The Homecoming Job) that includes this exchange:

Sophie Devereaux: [pretending to be a defense contractor] My company’s focused on meeting Senators, but, um, I’m thinking Congressmen.
Charles Dufort: You know the great thing about Congressmen? 50, 100 grand well spent will get one elected. But then, once they’re in, the incumbency rate is over 95%! So you can get on an average 18, 20 years use out of one of them. In these uncertain times, buying a United States Congressman is one of the best investments a corporation can make!
Alec Hardison: [listening in on surveillance] Oh, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. I’m a professional criminal and I find that disturbing.

With all that’s going on in politics these days, it’s hard not to think those words are true.  In California, there are people railing on and on about how Democrats are beholden to the unions that put them in office.  On the other side of the aisle are complaints that Republicans are in the back pocket of Big Business.  We’ve got a city, the City of Bell, that’s going through a major upheaval due to the corruption of its’ city council members.  For those that don’t know, the city administrator paid himself around $442,000, more than the president of the united states, to administer a town with less than 37,000 people in it.  And we’re not talking about Beverly Hills (34,000), we’re talking blue collar to the core.   It’s so disgusting.

I’ve read of outrage that President Obama puts his feet up on the resolute desk.  “How could he!  So disrespectful!”  These are people who seethe at the thought of liberals.  Those same people have nothing to say when shown photographs of George W. Bush doing the same.  I see it all the time….democratic voters complaining about a republican politician engaging in the EXACT SAME BEHAVIOR as the democrats, and vice versa.  People only define certain behavior as “bad” when the person they DON’T support politically engages in them.  How many republicans seethed over Clinton?  What did they have to say about Newt?

People are corrupt.  Wait, I’ll quote another movie…that Tommy Lee Jones/Will Smith classic, Men In Black.

Edwards: Why the big secret? People are smart. They can handle it.
Kay: A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it

A person, maybe you, may not be corrupt, but people are.  Think about how much money our politicians make?  There’s been a big story lately about politicians on both side of the aisle engaging in what is essentially insider trading, stuff that will get you and I arrested, but they are allowed to profit off the information they receive as leaders of our government.  They are supposed to service us.

I see it in my job. Clients and prospects sometimes ask us to break the rules, sometimes the law, to help them.  We tell them “no”, and have even “fired” clients who persist, but what always gets me is the fact that these same people would PITCH A FIT if a carrier tried to break the rules/the law and it hurt our client.  I’ve seen carriers behave in obviously greedy ways, demanding a larger increase in rates than is warranted, but I’ve also seen prospects expect to get insurance that they previously hadn’t wanted to pay for but now insist they should be allowed to buy because suddenly they’ve broken their leg and need rehab.

Think of insurance as a pool of water.  The people in the village (those insured by carrier A) all put a little bit of their water in the pool, and it’s there for them should they ever experience a drought.  But there’s a handful of people who don’t want to contribute.  They want to keep their water to themselves.  Then suddenly their pipes burst.  Now they think they’re entitled to drain the pool even though they’ve put nothing into it, leaving everyone else who sacrificed their water to stare at an empty pool.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think your health should be determined by the amount of money in your bank account, but with the system we live in, that’s how it works.  We’re in love with capitalism and it invites corruption.  On every level.

The reason I bring all this up isn’t to engage in a political discourse….it’s to comment on a)why I don’t get involved in politics and b)that this is just how people are, and it makes it that much tougher to trust ANYONE.   I believe this world will never change due to politicians.  We have to be the change we want to see in the world. It’s heartbreaking to shed that idealistic view that I think most people carry with them, maybe through their 20’s.  I kinda wish I could still see the world as full of people who are basically good.  Or at the very least, be able to keep my heart just open enough to let a few good people in.

These days, when someone is really nice to me, I feel downright uncomfortable.  I really need to work on that.  Ohhhh, I’m like Parker, on Leverage!  Yeah.  She calls ’em like she sees them.

Parker[as a flight attendant, speaking before takeoff] In the event of a water landing, your seat cushion can be used as a flotation device. But let’s face it, if this thing goes down in the water, more than likely, the impact will kill you. Please take a moment to locate the nearest emergency exit. Because if this plane’s on fire, you’re gonna wanna get out quick. Jet fuel burns at over a thousand degrees! That’s hot, folks.

Okay, I’m done rambling.  Wait, one more thing.  Tommy Lee Jones is a distant cousin of mine.  Really, really distant.  Like, 150 years ago our kin was kin.  And he lives outside San Antonio.  And he’s a Spurs fan.  It’s kismet.


@ChristianKane01 stars in…

…my dreams.  Well, to be honest, Eliot Spencer, the badass he plays on Leverage, is the one I dream about.

Christian Kane cusses like a sailor, dips, and is seemingly never in one place for very long.  These are not qualities I find attractive.  But we hail from the same corner of the earth.  He was born in Texas and raised in Oklahoma, I was born in Oklahoma and raised in Texas.  I’ve lived part of my adult life in both states and most of my family is scattered throughout both.  He and I have traveled the same roads, washed the same red dirt off our cars, and know more native American words than the average citizen due to Oklahoma geography.  My assumption is we share a lot of the same values.

He’s also a musician.  When his EP came out some time ago, I bought it.  My then 2 year-old daughter danced to “The House Rules” on first hearing, so I knew it was a good thing. I delayed, however, in buying his full album when it came out, because by then, my mid-life crisis had me firmly in its’ grips, and I couldn’t bring myself to listen to anything I thought might make me ache even more for the life I lived unfulfilled.  Even after I bought it, many tracks went unheard for the same reason.

Today was different.  Today, my husband took our wee one to school, then we walked to downtown Long Beach, to a french bistro we discovered, and had the rare meal alone, just the grown-ups.  We then walked down to the beach.  Walking along the ocean brought back memories of when I first moved to California, and the walks I’d take along Dockweiler beach in Playa del Rey.  I thought of the music I listened to back then, and pulled out my iPhone.  I put one of the tracks on (Let it Whip, by the Dazz Band), just to reminisce, then, as we walked back up to Ocean, I decided to put on Kane’s album.  For the record, listening to “The House Rules” while standing still at a crosswalk is VERY hard.  I had to get a little hip-shakin’ in there.  I had never listened to the second track, “Something’s Gotta Give” until today.

I’ve been sitting on the fence for way too long
Warmin’ that bench as chance moves on
And believe me that ain’t the way to live
And this barely getting by is really getting old
And it’s hard to turn the wrench on a rusty bolt
But someday, somethin’s gotta give

I kinda laughed at myself, because these words spoke to me for reasons I’ve enumerated in many previous posts, yet I hadn’t allowed myself to hear them because I feared the feelings they’d stir up.

In general, listening to country music makes me think of my summers in Enid, of driving up the 74, past the Kerr-McGee factory where Karen Silkwood worked (as pointed out by my grandfather EVERY TIME we drove past it), of boys in cowboy hats and baseball caps, with the nicest butts in denim I’ve ever seen.  My husband and I danced to “Amazed” at our wedding, and that and the other country songs he put on a mix cd he gave me when we were first dating tend to bring tears to my eyes.  But, otherwise, I haven’t really connected with a country song in a while.  Not to say I’ll be getting these words tattooed on my arm or anything, but I find it amusing that once again I find that my fears have kept me from something meaningful.  Yes, it’s just a song, but one of the most valuable things we have in this life is the ability to connect to other people.  Music allows us to connect to others in a profound way.  A well-written song can remind us that despite our differences, we often share the same feelings, the same concerns, the same desires.  Rather than being hurt by these words, they inspired me, just a little.

So thanks for that, Kane.