Who Watches the Watchers?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? This is a phrase from Juvenal’s “Satires” and involves keeping a wife from being lascivious. It is often misattributed to Plato’s “Republic.” From that misattribution it has taken on the political aspect that I choose to use. Who, indeed, watches the watchers and is responsible for returning them to the path of righteousness should they stray?

Today we are faced with multiple examples of the watchers not taking action on egregious violations, not just of law but morals upon which the country was founded. In this case the watchers are in the Executive Branch which is supposed to be overseen by the Legislative Branch, but other than individual impeachment proceedings the Legislative Branch has no authority to correct the situation. Impeachment has no effect if there is partisanship in the Legislature. Other than the ballot box there should be a method to hold legislators responsible for voting along party lines when the evidence clearly proves guilt on the part of the individual being impeached.

The founding fathers assumed that elected legislators would put the interests of the country above partisan interests. They were wrong. With power comes responsibility and the legislators have violated not law but the sacred trust of their countrymen. It is time to restrict the ability of the legislators to buy votes with pork barrel additions to bills. It is time for the citizenry to set the rules by which Congress conducts business. Allowing the legislators to set their own rules and schedules is like allowing prisoners to run prisons. The ballot is no longer a sufficient check on congress. We need Constitutional amendments to allow citizens to be able to hold Congress responsible for the power it wields and it is time for the watchers in Congress to exercise their oversight ability to set right the watchers in the Executive Branch. If the Senate votes along partisan lines when the evidence for conviction is clear then there needs to be a national media campaign to shame them. That’s all we have for now but maybe we’ll be able to get those constitutional amendments in the not so distant future.

Leave a Reply