Corruption has plagued the United States, as well as other nations, for many years. The novel All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren, shows a lot about what happens “under the table” between politicians for things to go favorably for a certain party or group. It shows how even a morally good politician can end up following the wrong path. But how does corruption affect us, and how do we respond? It can lead to many unjust decisions that favor the wrong group of people. In response to corruption, the U.S Government has conducted investigations and has held people accountable. The way our Government and citizens respond also reflects some of our American values, which can help portray what our society believes in.

I believe that the government’s intent, as well as the citizen’s support to stop corruption, shows that America values justice and fighting for what’s right. But what is considered justice? What we consider to be right or wrong is a lot of times based upon some of America’s core values such as equality, freedom, and a balance of government power. When there is an act of corruption, it is the government’s job to hold people accountable because it violates the core values. Based on the response to acts of corruption, we can see the values that our country believes in.

In recent years, many U.S citizens have believed that corruption exists in the U.S. Government. The number of people who believe this has gone up with a change in the U.S. president. According to an article on Transparency.org, many people feel like the level of corruption in our current government has increased. It states that “44 percent of Americans believe that corruption is pervasive in the White House, up from 36 percent in 2016” (“Corruption in the US: the Difference a Year Makes”). This can help display the fact that corruption is still a known issue today and that different people have different views on whether they believe the Government is corrupt based on their views of the Government. Sometimes, different views in politics can lead to different politicians trying to take each other down in unjust ways. While those politicians may end up being accused of fraud, they may still have support from some citizens and government officials who may favor a particular political party. This means that it’s important for the investigation to be unbiased to give a fair decision purely based on what is right or wrong.  

Even though there are fair procedures for handling corruption, I think that one of the biggest problems is that it can be really hard to investigate. An article talking about America’s current state in terms of corruption states that “The more common such practices become, the more honest and law-abiding people will be tempted to follow suit just to keep up. And once corruption becomes endemic in a society, rooting it out becomes difficult if not impossible” (Walt). This shows that even those who are honorable and trustworthy can fall for these traps, especially if it starts becoming more and more common. All the King’s Men portrays this as well by showing how blackmail and bribery can affect even the most honorable of politicians such as Judge Irwin and Adam Stanton, who were both found to have taken bribes at certain points in the book. This helps show that it’s easy to fall into the trap of corruption, so the Government needs to be ready to take action and hold people accountable regardless of who is being accused or found guilty.

Right now, the current President of the United States, Donald Trump, is potentially facing impeachment due to some corruption allegations. To determine whether this is true, the Government has to investigate the case and determine whether Trump’s actions violate any of America’s core values. According to an article by BBC News, there is a process for impeachment, which includes “a simple majority to pass and if it does, the process then moves to the Senate where a trial is held” (“Trump impeachment inquiry: A simple guide”). By investigating this case, we can see that the United States values a balance in power since President Trump was accused of using his powers unfairly and is being investigated for it. We can also see that the government has a process for investigating presidents for impeachment.

Overall, I think that corruption is an issue that we have to continue to work to fix. The main way to combat corruption is to investigate and hold people accountable. Our response to corruption can help reflect some of our values, such as justice, integrity, equality, and more. These values help us determine what is considered right and wrong in our country. 

Work Cited

e.V., Transparency International. “Corruption in the USA: The Difference a Year Makes.” www.transparency.org, www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_in_the_usa_the_difference_a_year_makes

“Trump Impeachment Inquiry: A Simple Guide.” BBC News, BBC, 14 Nov. 2019, www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39945744

Walt, Stephen M. “America’s Corruption Is a National Security Threat.” Foreign Policy, 19 Mar. 2019, foreignpolicy.com/2019/03/19/americas-corruption-problem-is-a-national-security-threat/.  

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Corruption in the United States by Abhi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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