Child Abuse Is The Root Cause Of Corruption
The most corrupt among us started their habit at a very early age.
As I watch the story of the impeachment of President Trump unfold, I am mindful that it takes two to tango. I believe that there is corruption on both sides. I believe that both major parties are facing a day of reckoning.
I have read up on Trump and on Joe Biden and his son. All of them live privileged lives. All of them have supported and/or enacted laws that most of us must obey, yet they seem to think of themselves as above the law.
With their wealth and connections, the elite among us can pay for the lawyers required to structure their transactions to avoid or minimize their taxes. They can set up shell companies, hide their cash flows, hide the true owner of their property and hide their contributions to politicians for economic and political gain. They can have a business in a mailbox in the Cayman Islands if they want to.
The race to wealth is an illusion. The lies required to accumulate a billion dollars are an illusion. The corruption we see in Congress and in our statehouses is the culmination of decades of habit. I see the sense of entitlement on prominent display among the political class, among the donor class, and among the aristocrats that protect the people they work for. And I see that they just can’t quit their habit. They are money and power junkies, for whatever they have now, just isn’t quite enough.
I believe that among adults, corruption is an exchange of dignity for money and power. For every act of corruption, there is money supporting it. They wink at each other and nudge each other with their elbows like they’re getting away with something, something that the rest of us don’t see. Like an inside joke about an unwitting member of their social group, America.
Adult corruption is a symptom of a much deeper problem. I believe that corruption in politics is a symptom of abuse sustained as a child. When children are dealing with abusive parents, they learn to tell their parents what they want to hear to avoid abuse. They will lie to save their lives. They will hide from their oppressors. They will omit relevant information if that would save them the pain of abuse from an irrational, abusive parent. Child abuse corrupts children.
The latest statistics show that better than 70% of adult Americans still think it’s sometimes appropriate to hit a child. When a child is hit, that sets into motion fight or flight. Hitting a child confuses the child. The child is completely dependent upon the parents and has no idea why he or she has been hit by mommy or daddy. they don’t know the rules. They only know that they need to be more careful. They learn to watch what they say. They become willing to give up integrity for safety. They become willing to lie to avoid punishment.
When kids lie, they get a charge from it. There is some excitement to it, and there is some relief from a lie. Relief that they can have another hour or another day in peace. Relief that they can avoid a spanking, a blow to the head or body, a time out, a grounding, or the loss of privileges or property. Over time, this can become normal. And over time, layer upon layer of lies and denial accumulate, like sediment, to cover the truth. If the lies are discovered by an abusive parent, there will be hell to pay, if not, then there is peace, a chance for survival.
Kids who have been abused learn to lie to avoid confrontation with their parents, and they grow up into adults who are comfortable with lying. A case in point with Trump is that he’s had multiple affairs over the course of his marriages. He lied to start and maintain his affairs until he was found out. You don’t learn to live that way without abusive parents.
Children are the world’s greatest imitators. You smile, they smile. You pick your nose, they pick their nose. If you’re angry much of the time, they learn to be angry, too. If you hit, they hit. If you lie, they lie. If you live a life of integrity, your kids will learn to do the same.
For all this talk about corruption in high office, very few politicians are willing to examine why there is any corruption at all. I don’t see any of them asking about the root cause of corruption in politics. The root cause of corruption in politics is child abuse.
So when I look upon the stage of American politics today, I see children in adult bodies, playing on a playground built by American taxpayers. I see adult children unwilling to examine the truth of their childhood. I see adult children unwilling to examine why they need multiple millions of dollars to live a life of happiness and dignity. I see adult children who will exchange some of their dignity for a campaign contribution from another billionaire or millionaire in exchange for just the right language in a section of code in a law. Repeated acts of corruption build layers and layers of laws.
The drama of impeachment is to me, a symptom of America’s love affair with violence. When I hear those leaders calling out Trump for his corruption, I see some of those same leaders unwilling to acknowledge the money they have received in exchange for their dignity. When I see our leaders in politics talk about corruption as if it came from nowhere, I see people who are unwilling to look deeper at the source of corruption, child abuse.
If we really want to drain the swamp, then we must look at the swamp we have built. That swamp is built with child abuse. That swamp is built with layer upon layer of denial. That swamp is protected by our unwillingness to acknowledge the root cause of corruption, child abuse.
Until I see our leaders get serious about child abuse as a matter of national politics, I will be mindful that they are not ready to see the source of corruption. Like a parent, I will note that they are just doing the best that they can. I will continue to write articles that draw attention to the connection between corruption and child abuse. I will continue to promote sources of information that make this connection. I will continue to plant the seeds of this idea in the hopes that one day, someday, we can become a culture that values integrity over wealth. How do we do this?
We notice that kids are not good or bad. We notice that kids do what we do, not what we say. We notice that kids would do better if they could. We notice that challenging behavior occurs when kids lack the skills or capacity required to respond adaptively to the demands of their environment. We notice that we must teach the skills our kids need to solve the problems they encounter as they grow up. We notice that punishment doesn’t teach those skills. We collaborate with our kids to solve those problems, thereby teaching the skills they need to grow up into happy and compassionate adults.
We teach these skills so that our kids learn to live a life of integrity, and so that they know they do not have to exchange that integrity for money.