Congressional investigations are all too often are just a political circus, rarely providing any conclusions.
Imagine yourself as a thief, and you had just been nabbed by the police for breaking into a home and stealing valuables from one of your fellow citizens. The police take you away to jail, but instead of getting an arraignment and a court date for a trial, you had the option to have your alleged crime investigated by an assembly of other thieves. Which would you rather take place?
Now, suppose you had been accused of sexual harassment by a former co-worker or assistant. Would you rather have the allegations investigated by an independent party or let a body of your friends and close associates take a look at the situation? I suspect most of us would opt for the latter.
Not saying that the friends and associates would completely exonerate you, but it is quite likely, having known you for some time and worked with you for several years, their opinion of you may be just a little slanted in your favor. It would be human nature to do so, and that fact would make a completely honest and independent investigation a little less likely.
Now add in the fact that some of those friends and associates may have also participated in what could be considered as sexual harassment in the past, or were uncertain that some events that occurred may now be construed as sexual harassment due to changing values over time. Suddenly, their judgement against you may become clouded with concerns their own improprieties could soon surface.
One could certainly understand the use of the phrase “fox guarding the henhouse” that may be applied to such a situation. Is it any wonder that Senator Al Franken offered up himself to such an investigation of the sexual harassment allegations against him last week? By placing his case in the capable hands of the Senate Ethics Committee, he virtually assured no action would be taken against him, or at the very least, any rebuke of his behavior would be delayed for years, until the press forgot about it and moved on to the next big story.
Let’s face it, congressional investigations are little more than political grandstanding, and it doesn’t matter which party is spearheading the investigation. Rarely does any significant punishment get handed down by the investigating committees and usually they just drag along until the headlines and sound bites become few and far between. Then, they just seem to fade away.
Prime examples are the Benghazi investigations and the Russian collusion stories. All manner of prying and questioning from senators and representatives has been on-going for years, and we know absolutely nothing more now than we did at the start. Untold amounts of wasted time and treasure have been spent in the pursuit of nothing, while Congress kicks the cans of healthcare, tax reform, national infrastructure, and immigration reform even farther down the road for the next Congress to debate.
Unfortunately, the next Congress will be made up of most of the same procrastinators that formed the last Congress and the process will continue for who knows how long. All the while, the perpetrators are still being elected, still getting national publicity, and raking the dollars from television appearances and book writing deals, and the American taxpayer is footing the bills for the endless rounds of dog-and-pony shows in the nation’s capital.
Those who are accused of crimes should be thoroughly investigated, and if found guilty, should face judgement and appropriate punishment. If we claim to hold our political operatives to a higher standard, they should be expected to perform at a higher standard, and they should be willing to hand out proper judgement to their peers, when necessary, regardless of party affiliation.