Cartier: Abuse of power
With this week’s release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, both sides of the political spectrum are claiming victory. Yet, it is the American people who lost. Two years of investigation, at an estimated cost of $25 million to $35-million, resulted in essentially nothing new.
Political rhetoric aside, the greatest concern for most people was that the investigation was too one-sided. There was plenty of evidence to indicate that both the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump campaigns had met with Russian operatives to get dirt on the other. While neither may have risen to the point of “collusion”, both may have acted inappropriately. Having said that, politics at this level is a blood sport.
Opposition research is extensive, and one where few survive unscathed. This is why so many of our best and brightest, refuse to enter the political arena. With no one having a purely pristine history, opponents can make even the most innocent act appear nefarious. Yet sometimes information comes from the most unlikely sources, so most campaigns are open to whatever is brought forward, then confirm its validity. In the Trump and Clinton campaigns, there was plenty of dirt to be had, yet only one side was researched. I anticipate that another $30 million will be spent investigating Clinton, and while I believe there is more direct evidence of ulterior motives, it will result in a similar conclusion. This is tribalism at its best.
Opposition research is dirty. No one likes others looking into all of their personal business and framing every incident to further a political agenda. At what point is it simply an abuse of power?
The Mueller report determined that there was no collusion between Russia and then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, although, they did attempt to infiltrate our elections. The fact that Russia sought methods of disruption is nothing new. In fact, most nations, in the name of national security, keep very close tabs on global players because it influences foreign policy.
The United States is not exempt from promoting those we feel are more in alignment with what we consider to be in the best interest of global diplomacy. The question is, how far will we go. History indicates that all nations have been known to cross the line in supporting their causes. No one is surprised at Russia’s actions and it serves as a reminder that we must not get complacent about security during elections, particularly digital vulnerabilities.
The shock here was in those accusing President Donald Trump of being a Russian agent. A scenario worthy of a Hollywood movie, but having no basis in reality. Yet some are so vested in a negative outcome, they simply can’t let it go. Isn’t it a good thing that our highest elected officials do not have compromising loyalties to other nations?
“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong,” —Thomas Sowell. We must begin holding accusers accountable for the havoc and expense they cause for their own self-interest.
While we want to believe that those in power will use it wisely, but we must be cautious as they are subject to human frailties. If an accusation appears to be outrageous, we must consider the source and potential motivations. Abuse, by those in power, is a temptation that some simply cannot ignore. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” — Lord Acto.
Abuse of power is not limited to global politics. We’ve heard of coordinated harassment of individuals by government agencies at all levels, often politically motivated. We’ve seen it recently in the .MeToo movement, and the college admissions scandal. We hear of lucrative contracts awarded by local governments, which were predetermined long before any bidding process begins. We witness advantages given by those in power in exchange for favorable outcomes across every industry.
What can be done?
When it comes to corruption and abuse of power, spend the time to research and don’t ignore your gut. Unsavory characters with questionable intent are usually experts at manipulation.
Be informed. Don’t allow political rhetoric to overtake your common sense. Consider the source. Does the accusation seem realistic? Could there be an ulterior motive? What factor does intent play and could it simply be a misinterpretation or mistake? What is the norm? For example, during the Mueller investigation, evaluations had to be made about what is acceptable in opposition research; and how much discussion with foreign entities is appropriate for someone establishing the global landscape in a presidential bid. And, most important of all, don’t be tempted to abuse your own power. Remember where you came from and let honor, integrity and compassion be your driving force.
Jacqueline Cartier is a political and corporate consultant in Colorado and Washington, D.C. She may be contacted at email@example.com. For further information, visit http://www.cartier