Life in the Box: Anti-Corruption Day


Mark December 9th on your calendar, and start planning for it. It’s officially “Anti-Corruption Day.”

The celebration begins with not having to pay off a judge to get out of jail, not having to buy black-market tennis shoes or food, and not having to stay quiet when politicians make laws that support corruption. Now that I think about it, it’s hard to celebrate by “not” doing things.

Let’s lift a glass to clean water: oh, unless you live in Flint, Michigan where corrupt officials at all levels let the water become a measurable reflection of their own corruption.

Let’s wave a flag in Alabama: oh, except that there will be no Governor, no Speaker of the House, and no Supreme Court Chief Justice—all embroiled in corruption charges at the same time. And, the voters have gotta be frustrated because they voted them in to fight corruption. And the very interesting side note is that all three of these corrupt men are enmeshed and could possibly bail each other out! Except for the Supreme Court guy—he’s got the Feds on his tail for a second time. He was ousted before; voted back in as a martyr; and is about to be kicked out again.

no-dollar-handshake-smLet’s swing through Illinois and cheer for our team. Oh, no, I guess the Illinois government has basically shut down most services due to lack of agreement on funding, or was that last year? And of course you can’t consult former governors in that state unless you visit them in prison.

I started thinking about corruption the other day when I was pondering the goings-on in Iowa, home of the nation’s longest-term governor, Terry Branstad. I was wondering why people keep voting him in, especially in this day and age when people are so anti-status-quo.

He’s been upsetting me for years, but most of his corruption is the legal kind of corruption—he’s within his legal right to do it, but it’s not really ethical to replace all the heads of state with people who will do whatever he wants them to do. Because what he wants them to do is not all that legal, and much of it is not ethical to my way of thinking.

A few examples: the head of the Department of Natural Resources is not fighting pollution; the head of the Workforce department is not supporting workers’ rights; the head of the Historical Department is closing down needed resources such as historical libraries and educational services. And so forth. But, the voters keep putting the governor back in office.

I won’t be lifting a glass for this status-quo, but I am celebrating all those groups that have been springing up to fight the many unfair and unhealthy goings-on. I wish them power, I wish them justice, and I wish I could point them to a national Supreme Court that could help them. But, of course, having the Supreme Court function depends on getting that naughty Iowan, Senator Grassley, to function and have a hearing. Ain’t gonna happen, folks. Ain’t I ashamed!


nancy heather brown author

Nancy Heather Brown is a retired, Emmy Award-winning television producer whose career has included interviewing, writing, and editing for a span of four decades. Today, she enjoys learning new things and reflecting upon the creative process both inside and outside the box. 

Dec 9 is “Anti-Corruption Day” declared by the United Nations Convention against Corruption

Economist Article about the Alabama circle of scandal

“Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.” Transparency International has details and a global map that’s interesting.