When I was a child, I idolized authority figures like a fireman, a police officer, and a soldier. Regardless of who the individual was, I respected what they did and adored them for it. In the ignorance of my youth, I failed to see the corruption and abuse of power in the authority figures; however, at some point in my perception of them, a line was crossed. Though this metaphoric line cannot be clearly defined, those in positions of authority should never be allowed to continue with the neglect of their responsibilities, considering the respective oaths they took. Given the firsthand experience of being a soldier, I got the insight of the inner workings of what it means to be a soldier. In this experience, I witnessed the full extent of the corruption in the military. While there are many redeeming qualities and people within each organization, the corruption remains a damming flaw. One cannot sit back and watch while this continues. It affects not only us as individuals but also our economy, our quality of life, and the protection offered to us by these people in authority. No longer should someone be afraid of a dirty cop. No longer should a soldier intimidate an individual. While the tendencies of the heart lean towards personal gain and selfish desire, it can not be allowed to rule our lives and the lives of those who have the vested trust of the community. There is no excuse for the soiled politics which are played consistently within and around the hierarchy of these organizations. Corruption is the greatest evil of the society. Its roots are so deep in the society that it has become a norm; something we must live with. Our leaders have insatiable desires; our system of governance is full of favoritisms -very partial as it consists of networks of high valued connections, loyalty, tail waging, and very nasty practices.
What is the root cause of corruption? This question seems easy to answer especially when the perceived “corruption” is visible. However, various acts of corruption are invisible; we can only see the effects. Before we blame the leaders or the people in authority, let us start with ourselves. Let us focus on the nasty things we do, our opinions, and our interests. Let us then assume that we were in those high positions and the above actions magnified. I promise you, this would be the greatest corruption. Corruption and the society have become inseparable. It has formed part of our lives and we can not live without it. What happens when an individual seeks for an employment? We always demand little “favors”, and we are more willing to pay for the favors; however, how often do we realize that the “favors” are our rights? Every individual has a right to be employed and this is not a favor. Why then must you pay for it? We also have the right to rise in our respective work places; however, we sometimes meet the qualifications and the required experience but we fail to be uplifted to higher positions. We realize that most of the occupants of such positions lack the qualities and the experience, but due to the connections, they remain there. The direct result is poor service delivery to the masses. We also witness cases of gender disparity in our workplaces. Is this not corruption? Our political leaders use corruption as the ladder that raises them to the high positions. They must therefore idolize corruption. They use corruption as a tool to satisfy their insatiable desires as they generate the money they used in campaigns. Let us look at the corrupt deals that have ruined our economy. Our leaders participate in corruption while the common citizens kindly pay for the actions of their leaders. It is quite embarrassing that you pay a tax, which instead of being put in proper use, benefits the leaders. Our police officers have become the figures of corruption. They represent corruption in everything they do as they break the rules, which are later bent in their favor. Our judicial system is quite partial. The lawyers, in most cases, give biased representation as the actual victims whom they represent, walk scot-free. There are several complaints about unfair trials, delayed justice, unequal representation.
The society must be free; we must be free from corruption. We must have a change in mind and opinion. Let us fight corruption to the end and we must start with our selves. If we can avoid the little corrupt activities we engage in daily, then, we must certainly succeed in fighting corruption. Let us know the boundary between our rights and favors. We don’t need to pay for the rights; similarly, why must we pay for the favors? Let us be fully responsible for our actions. If we can walk the talk, then our police officers and other authority figures must certainly refrain from their corrupt activities. Leadership is a responsibility and one should not bribe his/her ways in order to attain a leadership position. Our leaders must set good examples; they must respect their positions as they fight corruption at all costs. The offices deserve to be respected. What is the point of taking an oath to respect the office while you do the opposite? Promotions in our organizations should be based on meritocracy, not corruption. The government must intensify its fight on corruption if we want a better future. The laws must be respected and should never be bent in order to favor specific individuals or groups. We are therefore looking forward to a system that respects human rights and is corruption free.
The truth about corruption is that the society and the individuals are the key causes. Almost everything in our lives has direct or indirect links with corruption. Some people even believe that the society can not exist without corruption. As a result, we feel that corruption is part of our daily lives. We must walk away from this mentality. Corruption has done us more harm than good. We must fight it and we must be free from it. What is the point of being a slave of what we can walk away from? We have the freedom to report any case of corruption to the responsible authorities. The choice is all ours.
Frances Burke, Combating Corruption, Encouraging Ethics: A Practical Guide to Management Ethics, 2 edition, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.; 2007.
Frank Anechiarico, and James B. Jacobs, The Pursuit of Absolute Integrity: How Corruption Control Makes Government Ineffective (Studies in Crime and Justice), 1st edition, University Of Chicago Press; 1998.
Michael Johnston, Syndromes of Corruption: Wealth, Power, and Democracy, Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Michelle Malkin, Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies, Reprint edition. Regnery Publishing; 2010.
Raymond Fisman, and Edward Miguel, Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of Nations, New edition, Princeton University Press; January 4, 2010
Robert I. Rotberg, Corruption, Global Security, and World Order. Brookings Institution Press, 2009.
Robert Klitgaard, Controlling Corruption, University of California Press, 1991
Susan Rose-Ackerman, Corruption and Government: Causes, Consequences, and Reform, Cambridge University Press, 1999.