Friday, November 17, 2006

Is Public Openness the New Imperative in American Politics?

By John W. Lillpop

Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Sam Brownback, R-Kan., have agreed to be tested for HIV in a move that the senators hope will remove some of the stigma from HIV testing.

Obama and Brownback are to be commended for exceptional courage by being so transparent and open. Those qualities are often lacking in politicians, which can cause the voting public to lose confidence in our leaders and institutions.

While these two senators have taken the plunge into a bold new world of openness, the American people would be well served if all politicians would slither from behind their facades and into the light of day for public scrutiny-- wherever that might lead.

Remember that congressional approval ratings have plummeted to all-time lows. Some voluntary openness might help to upgrade the esteem in which the general public holds members of congress.

To wit, with some rigorous honesty, hard work, and smashing of egomania, most Congress folk should be able to achieve a public image at least as positive as incarcerated pedophiles, grave robbers, mainstream media reporters, and other untouchables.

As a start, much could be gained by having some very public luminaries submit to public testing and by making test results public knowledge.

For example, why not test all politicians named Kennedy for drugs and alcohol?

And we would all sleep better at night if Jack Murtha were tested for dementia and Alzheimer’s. Harry Reid should be tested for congenital lying, and Nancy Pelosi for delusions of grandeur before they are allowed to assume their new responsibilities on January 3, 2007.

And before that awful amnesty bill is rammed down the throats of patriotic Americans, President Bush should be tested to see if he is suffering from a disabling and devastating addiction to cheap illegal labor from Mexico, a malady so severe that it prevents the president from thinking clearly.

Of course, the real test of courage would be to have Democrat Barney Frank and Republican Mark Foley tested for HIV. Now that would be bold!