A few weeks ago I ran into Samuel, a dual citizen of Nigeria and the United States. A well-educated businessman, his wife is a political consultant whose work takes her to every corner of Africa. Samuel made his living buying cars in Europe and the USA, and selling them in Nigeria to corporate clients who work for Shell, Coca-Cola, and other well-heeled clients. But he says it’s getting almost impossible to do business in Nigeria.
I try to keep up on international news, including Africa, and eagerly asked Samuel what’s happening in his home country. He confirmed and amplified what I already knew: that Nigeria would be one of the wealthiest nations on Earth if it were not for the relentless government corruption. Muhammadu Buhari was elected president last year, replacing the incumbent Goodluck Jonathan. Samuel told me Jonathan had risen to the presidency promising to put an end to the rampant cronyism and corruption that has infected the Nigerian government since its independence. But under Jonathan the corruption only got worse. And his replacement, Buhari, is no better, having installed his own cronies and schemes. Samuel described how the government officials and their friends are putting him, and most Nigerian entrepreneurs, out of business. He now drives Uber full time to put food on the table, and hasn’t been home for six months.
I sympathized with Samuel. “That’s where my country is headed, too. I would never have dreamed the United States government could become so corrupt.”
Hollywood could not come up with a plot so thin and unbelievable, and yet it unfolds before our eyes.
The U.S. Secretary of State sells influence to foreign leaders – greasing the skids for defense contracts, granting uranium mining rights on US soil to Russia, steering favorable rulings from international agencies – in exchange for cash contributions to her “foundation”, which is nothing more than a multi-billion dollar slush fund. The foundation pays no taxes and makes few charitable contributions; even worse, it siphons off legitimate disaster funds for the benefit of the Secretary’s family, friends, and cronies. American corporate cronies get in on the act, expecting “pay for play” rewards from the Secretary, who is presumed to become president.
The Secretary sets up a secret and illegal communication system to hide her corrupt dealings from public view, and when it is discovered, she has all of the records professionally “bleached” from her servers, laughing at congressional subpoenas demanding their release.
An FBI investigation ensues, but the director of the FBI gives immunity to everybody who could have been indicted for illegal handling of classified government communications and tampering with evidence. He does not even listen to the damning facts revealed in Congressional hearings or an FBI interview with the Secretary under oath, and hastily proclaims that the Attorney General should not prosecute. Almost simultaneously, the Attorney General has a clandestine meeting with the Secretary’s husband and former president, the subject of which is clearly either threat or payoff. The inquiry is dropped. And the stench of corruption hangs thick all over the nation’s capital.
The most creative fiction writer on planet Earth could not come up with less plausible story. Or at least this could only happen in a third-world hell-hole in Africa, right? Certainly not in the United States of America, the world’s champion of fairness, truth and democracy.
But it is happening, here and now. And our media, plus most of the American public and all of our representatives and senators (except for a few brave Freedom Caucus members) are perfectly happy to look the other way. No indictments. No impeachments. Not even a breath of criticism. The most corrupt political leader in the history of our nation may very well soon be our president.
This is unprecedented. It is clear that our government is now irretrievably corrupt. Citizens can no longer have any confidence in the FBI, the Department of Justice, the Congress, the Administration, or any federal agency. Congress could impeach the director of the FBI, and the Attorney General. But they won’t. Laws don’t apply to the politically connected. There is nobody left to stop the corruption except the citizens.
I don’t want our government to collapse, and I don’t want my grandchildren to live (or die) through a civil war. Sound extreme? Look back through history. Whenever governments become unbearably corrupt and untouchable, change ultimately comes via brute force. And it’s never pretty. Ask any African.
Right now American citizens have only one course of action: to elect a president who is not part of the corrupt political machine, and hope for the best. The corrupt legislative branch and the corrupt judicial branch will take years to turn over, but the corrupt administrative branch can be overthrown in one day. Failing that, we might as well be the United States of Africa.
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
Let’s fight corruption. Let’s fight corruption.
Let’s fight corruption as much as we can.
Let’s fight corruption. Let’s fight corruption.
Let’s fight corruption, together we stand.
The Child Africa Corruption Song