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.