What does it mean to be accountable?

Lately in the media many people claim they are accountable for mistakes but face few or no consequences. Top of the list is Hillary Clinton and her email scandal. She claims that it was a mistake, her emails were personal and we should trust her and move on. She takes responsibility for the mistake but to her that means only that she should apologize for it and promise not to make similar mistakes when President. To me that is a very low bar for accountability. Her staff who cooperated with the FBI were given immunity from prosecution and all she has to do is apologize and then get promoted? When American football players make a bad tackle on the field they are fined and suspended for a game or two. They are held to account! When others in sensitive positions such as hers make similar mistakes with classified documents or information, such as banks or intelligence officers they are fined and imprissioned as a means to be he accountable for their transgressions.

CEOs are a group that are notoriously unaccountable for any failure but deserving of immense riches when the company is successful. CEO of an American company is the best job if you can get it. The Wells Fargo CEO is the latest example, John Stumpf. His company ran a pervasive and long running fraud on customers. He fired a large enough number of employees for fraud so that ignorance is akin to incompetence. When he testified that he was accountable yet intended to remain in a position to perpetuate incompetence it sends a clear message.

Anyone who has been fired, looked over for promotion, demoted, fined or penalized in other ways due to mistakes they have made must be outraged at the double standard applied to people in a position of power. It inspires a dark desire for revenge against those who pay lip service to accountability or at least to wish them ill.

A society in which there is no accountability for misdeeds breeds conflict and inequity. It’s no wonder that America finds itself in such decline that narcissists like Trump claim only they can restore greatness and criminals like Hillary claim the corrupt and inequitable America is great today.

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