This I Believe

Robert - Carrollton, Texas
Entered on September 11, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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Corruption is wrong, and it twists democracies and puts a mockery in their place. To define corruption, being corrupt is changing your true opinion of what is best for your sector/region to suit your own interests. Examples of this include bribery, nepotism, and cronyism. Bribery is when an official receives money in exchange for a favor that is usually at odds with the overall good of the region the official represents. Nepotism is appointment of family members to positions without regard to whether they can actually fulfill the requirements of the position. Cronyism is the same thing, but appointment of friends instead of family members.

Do you remember in elementary school the first student council election? Everyone wanted to be the boss, and so it was incredibly competitive. Most of the kids gave out candy as “gifts” to encourage people to vote for them. Since no one had a clue what was required to be a good student council person, and no one knew who was best for the job, it was, pretty much, a popularity contest. Calling it an election was a complete joke, because it had all the elements of corruption, including bribery and cronyism, when you think about it. Everybody was an innocent little elementary-school kid, so nobody knew that what they were doing was wrong, and is practiced in politics all around the world, but in much more complicated forms.

I believe nepotism and cronyism (“Vote for me because I’m your best friend”) can cause unqualified officials to hold positions, but neither is as bad as bribery. Mass bribery (“I’ll give you candy if you vote for me”) can result in a completely wrong decision by the officials. Blackmailing (“If you don’t vote for me, I’ll tell the teacher you cheated on the test”) is the same, but with a punishment instead of a reward at the end if the official doesn’t give in. Either of these happening in large amounts (“If I get elected, the whole class gets a pizza party”) can cause the government or representatives to make bad decisions (“Nobody’s doing good in math, so I’m going to try and abolish math”). People who run just on what is best for the nation (Vote for me and I’ll establish a free tutorial session in the library”) are seldom elected, since the good of the nation (class) is not always in the nation’s immediate interests. Democracy is based upon the will of the people, and if most of the representatives are being bribed/ blackmailed, then the whole legislative branch (class) is transformed into a puppet for a single corruptor. Instead of representing the people’s will, the democracy is showing the will of the corruptor, none else. Bribes and blackmails destroy democracy from the inside out; from an embodiment of the people’s will to a dictatorship.

I believe that no matter how rationalized it is, corruption is corruption. It may just be a little candy to improve your popularity, or choosing your friend over some stranger who is better suited for the job, but it’s killing the idea of democracy.