Among the famous quotes of the playwright, author, philosopher Edmund Burke is “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Assuming that most of us believe that evil does exist and that it can come in different forms, we now ask you, would graft and corruption be considered as evil acts per se?
But before we attempt to correlate the meaning of those two words, let us first look at the meaning of graft and corruption. “Graft and corruption” refer to unethical practices that lead to the advancement of those who are willing to cheat to get by. These two ideas have been a part of government almost as long as power structures have existed, as those who are in power use that power to get additional financial and other advantages. Graft, a form of political corruption, is the unscrupulous use of a politician’s authority for personal gain.
We happen to believe that no amount of lip service nor sanctimonious behavior will reduce graft and corruption. Graft practices can never be totally eliminated. It has been around as far back as the time of Christ; but surely, it can certainly be reduced.
We also happen to believe that the operative words are graft (less) and not graft (free). There is no such thing as graft (free). It would be the height of naiveté to entertain such a lofty idea as a graft-free governance.
Fortunately, for us taxpayers, the greatest role we can play is to be vigilant and intolerant on perceived to be graft and corrupt practices. We should be willing to denounce and leave our comfort zones for the benefit of the greater good. A vigilant, outspoken, well informed, and active citizenry is the best deterrence to graft and corrupt practices. The media alone given its inadequacies cannot be left and/or entrusted on such a vital issue nor can the media be expected to act as a watchdog. The taxpaying citizenry is the key to successful prevention on graft and corrupt practices.
We need not expound on the dire ill effects of graft and corrupt practices. Often, the grafters end up with the lion share of what would have been for the economic benefit of the majority, and while we may frown on common crimes as theft and thievery, as though we entertain a double standard on thieving vis-à-vis graft practices. The latter being personal compared to graft practices in government which actually affects every Tom, Dick, Harry, and Jane.
Promoters, instigators and participants on graft and corrupt practices are among the greatest thieves as they rob as blind, and right under our noses at that. We should of course not loose sight of the fundamental principle that what is right is right, and what is wrong is wrong and should be made right.
Ask yourself then, beloved Guamanians, who among us wants evil to triumph?