Author Topic: OPINION: America is Suffering From a Lack of Accountability  (Read 6047 times)


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OPINION: America is Suffering From a Lack of Accountability
« on: August 18, 2018, 10:07:02 am »
America is suffering from a lack of accountability.

Look around—behind the problems that plague our institutions and culture are individuals who are either unwilling or unable to speak or step up to deal with these issues. From bad behaviors displayed in public to friends and family members failing to live up to commitments, nobody says a word. No one is holding anyone accountable.  And when push does come to shove after repeated infractions and action is taken, too often it is taken in such a manner as to create a whole new set of problems.

This failure to speak up, this silence, isn’t just a morale killer, it’s becoming an institution killer, and America is suffering.

Our political system is a prime example of lack of accountability.  As Katherine Gehl and Dr. Michael E. Porter point out in their Harvard Business School report, Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America: A Strategy for Reinvigorating our Democracy, “Unlike other industries, which are subject to federal oversight or face threats from competition if they don’t serve customer needs, there’s no higher authority lording over the political system. Though the Federal Election Commission is nominally tasked with ensuring that election and financing rules are followed, the panel is stocked with political appointees and under constant pressure to operate with a very light touch.”

In theory, voters are supposed to be the ultimate check. If you don’t approve of what’s happening, vote the party or officials out. But as Gehl and Porter point out, “The real problem is that our political system is no longer designed to serve the public interest, and has been slowly reconfigured to benefit the private interests of gain-seeking organizations: our major political parties and their industry allies.”  Without accountability, as Gehl and Porter point out, our system “...may have worked better than ever for the constituencies that it was built to serve best: primary voters, donors, and lobbyists for special interests, including businesses. Unfortunately for the American public, most ordinary voters are not among those leading beneficiaries.” And with gerrymandering (redistricting), the process of selecting representatives has reversed—politicians now get to choose their voters rather than voters choosing their politicians. Our unwillingness to speak has been complicit in creating a self-serving system which has basically left We the People out of the loop.

Although the system is not broken, it has now become our country’s greatest challenge. Fixing the system will require sustained initiative and accountability. We must all be willing to do our part by holding one another and those in power accountable. We must learn to speak up when we witness injustices, and we must learn to do so in such a way that solves the problems without doing additional harm.

It’s time to begin having the courageous conversations we need in this country and to turn those conversations into the actions and resolutions we seek for the greater good of all Americans.


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