Rodriguez: Beware of Poisoned Orange Tree - Higher Education
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Rodriguez: Beware of Poisoned Orange Tree


by Roberto Rodriguez

The White House appears to be an ethics-free-zone. And it appears to be intentional.

The reason there are few ethical guidelines designed specifically for presidents is because it has always been assumed that the person at the helm of the most powerful nation on Earth would have little incentive to abuse the office of the presidency of the United States of America, precisely because he would be the most powerful person in the world.

What presumptuous logic and what presumptuous legislators. And what a presumptuous nation.

The truth is, we live in the most corrupt nation in the history of the planet, at least since the advent of nations. For virtually the entire 241-year history of this country, this nation has been in a perpetual state-of-war, save for perhaps 21 years. During this timeframe; 1776 to the present, this country has illegally invaded more nations than any other country on Earth, especially in the Americas, and some, such as Mexico, several times. One source puts it at 70 nations, though it greatly minimizes the amount of financial and military support for dictatorships at the expense of freely elected governments.

Considering this history — which is not taught at U.S. K-12 schools — it is surprising that Mexico did not, or has not, constructed a defensive wall since its founding in 1821. Perhaps such a wall could have prevented the theft of half its territory during the 1830s through 1850s, as a result of war or threat of war.

But I digress. Actually, this is not a digression. It is precisely the point. This is what unrestrained military power and corruption look like. This country creates trumped-up reasons for wars, invades nations and illegally seizes territories, and then defines corruption as police officers from other nations who shakedown citizens or bureaucrats or politicians who collude with drug cartels or who skim money from the local or national treasury, etc. Corruption is never defined as nations that devour or subject smaller nations to the imperial yoke of larger nations.

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For instance, former President George W. Bush began an illegal war against Iraq, wreaking havoc on the nation, killing at least 100,000, plus 5,000 U.S. deaths, and yet neither he nor his cabinet have ever been held accountable in a court of law.

Beyond hypocrisy, the U.S. definition of corruption is farce. That explains why there are no explicit ethical laws that target the executive branch. Truly it is expected that the president of this country will faithfully continue as the chief of police or generalissimo of the world, governing and invading nations, waging permanent worldwide wars, with the goal of world domination, with impunity.

While all true, could the Founding Fathers or their heirs not have ever envisioned the brazen kleptocracy, cronyism, corruption and nepotism of this Orange administration? Somewhere, the words inept, arrogance and war-mongering belong in there also. And did someone say treasonous? That, too.

Poisoned fruit. That is part of a legal theory that stipulates that if evidence is gathered illegally, then anything that flows from it, is thus also illegal. This has to apply to this administration; if it is determined that the Orange campaign or transition team colluded with a foreign power (Russia), then everything about it is also illegal, including his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch.

Aside from the fact that fact-checking organizations such as have documented that the current president is a congenital liar, his notion of “Make America Great Again,” includes beefing up an already beefed-up military; continuing to build upon the largest prison system in the world; and building an anachronistic border wall all the while lining the pockets of his worldwide business empire. All of this at the expense of what truly makes humans and peoples great: the arts, the humanities and a great educational system.

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That is the true definition of corruption. It is the antithesis of what it means to be human.

And just what precisely does it mean to be human at a time when those declaring people outside of humanity (border wall and immigration enforcement) are themselves ethically challenged?

The task of determining what it means to be human should be the primary work of institutions of higher learning. At least it should be.

Dr. Roberto Rodriguez is an associate professor in Mexican American studies at the University of Arizona.

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