The last few weeks have been rather busy in Washington and the blogosphere. Everywhere you turn, it seems another scandal is erupting, another bit of political shenanigans is being exposed, another act of official misconduct is gaining the limelight.
My first thought was that this is so reminiscent of the last gasps of the Nixon era. As Tricky Dickey’s house of cards began to fall, it seemed that weekly - daily even - more things were brought to light.
But this time around, it seems as if the corruption is much larger, more widespread, less specific and more all encompassing.
Is it more, is it different? Or are we just so much more in-tune to our surroundings that we now see these abuses of power sooner? Do we now have so much more ability to see into the world that the general illumination puts into stark focus the "dark areas" that the government would like us to not notice?
With the speed, accessibility and semi-anonymity of the Internet, people are able to reach such a large, widespread audience, within minutes. The Firedoglake live blog coverage of the Irving Lewis Libby trial is a prime example. Except for the final verdict, (during which the volume of interested users crashed their servers!) Firedoglake scooped most of the traditional news outlets on the testimony and "feeling" of the trial. Their analysis was spot-on, and the verdict was very near what they had projected.
I suppose it's possible that the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Shrub1, and Clinton administrations were all as corrupt and vile as this one. I suppose it's possible that we just did not have the abundance of tools at our disposal (remember AOL and the annoying blue-line downloads?) at those times to become as connected, as tuned-in, as informed as we are now.
I suppose it's possible. I don't believe it. But I suppose it is possible. Honestly, though - if I choose to believe this, that makes me no better than the 23%ers.