Politicians have long been the butt of jokes about integrity to the point that we largely yawn when yet another corruption scandal emerges. When our eyebrows raise, it's usually because the offender was such a vocal advocate of fighting corruption or a similarly vocal advocate for moral values, however defined. Elliot Spitzer comes to mind as an example of the former and examples of the latter are legion and ever-growing.
Religious leaders have their own history of fallen scoundrels from the middle ages up through modern times, even long before factoring in allegations of sexual abuse in various churches.
Given all of the above, it should be no surprise that we are subject to a seemingly nonstop parade of greed, avarice, and corruption from all quarters, including from those who are presumably charged with guarding our legal, ethical, and moral fiber. Yet, even despite my moderate state of jadedness about such matters, I found myself catapulted past my comfort zone yesterday when I read in short order first about politicians and rabbis caught up in a major New York and New Jersey money laundering/bribery/you-name-it-and-it-happened scheme
(Body parts are alleged to have been sold for cryin' out loud!
) and then about Deborah Duffy
, a corporate chief compliance officer who has now entered a guilty plea to charges of money laundering, securities fraud, and conspiracy. Maybe it was simply a matter of seeing too many charges for too many people in too many positions of trust, all in rapid order, but somehow it got to me.
Maybe I'm actually not as jaded as I have come to believe. Or, maybe the age of instant, worldwide news simply makes us more aware, more quickly of how many lapses in our protection have been occurring right along but without our catching either their numbers or breadth. Or, maybe we really are dropping – notch by notch – into times where the number of proverbial foxes guarding our legal and ethical henhouses is climbing.
Frankly, I don't care for any of these options. (Well, okay, maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I were a bit less jaded…) However, my fervent hope is that the last option is by far the least likely of the three. Time, I suppose, will tell.