Years ago, I first stumbled across that bit of Latin. “Let justice prevail, though the heavens may fall.” It’s an ancient Roman maxim, and it’s often cited as an example of judicial extremism, such as seen in “Les Miserables.” It’s a call for absolute justice, the iron-fisted enforcement of law without mercy.
And last night, when ABC first reported that House Speaker Dennis Hastert was under investigation by the FBI, that was my first reaction.
Despite what a few of my denser detractors like to say, I am no partisan. I belong to no party, owe no one any political allegiance, and one of the descriptions I use to describe my political leanings is “contrarian.” I tend to be suspicious of the majority party, and have a bit of an anti-incumbent bias.
When it comes to Congress, I tend not to think much about parties. I, rather, tend to have the same attitude towards them as a shopper in the meat section of a supermarket, or a high school dance chaperone: the older the subject I’m studying, the more suspicious I am of it. In Congressional terms, the longer they’ve been in office, the less likely I am to have much sympathy for them. For example, Ted Kennedy has been in the Senate for 44 years.
Hastert has been in Congress for nearly 20 years. That’s my entire adult life. He’s had plenty of opportunity to be “captured by the system,” to become ingrained to the abuses of power, the innate corruption of the system. And to my way of thinking, his rise to the Speakership is also indicative that he’s probably done a few shady things. Again, I have no personal knowledge of this matter; this is purely my personal prejudices talking.
Perhaps it’s my further prejudices talking, but as far as Washington goes, I feel like Jack Nicholson hit it right in the first Batman movie: “This town needs an enema!”
So, is Hastert the subject of an FBI investigation or not? I don’t know. Apparently, neither does ABC. But if nearly every single incumbent in Congress were to be defeated in November, I would quite possibly shed a single tear — but only if I stumbled during my happy dance.