What Manafort, Podesta, Hastert, and Flynn Teach Us about American Democracy

(ARMENIAN WEEKLY) When the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) says “grassroots make the difference” it’s because we know that our voice is an authentically American one, representing registered voters and real tax-payers across our great country, not simply the billable hours of a rented former politician or some pay-to-play PR firm.

Grassroots do make the difference, and we’re seeing that difference in the news every single day.

Podesta disgraced. Hastert imprisoned. Manafort arrested. Flynn under investigation.

It’s no accident. It’s a pattern.

More than that, more often than not—its a standard D.C. scam.

The immoral enriching the unethical. A marriage of the depraved and deplorable:

  • The fake lobbyists bank their cash;
  • The corrupt “leaders” keep their power;
  • The American people get sold a fake bill of goods;
  • And the folks back home get the short end of the stick.

It’s a win-win for the insiders. Lose-lose for the rest.

Why? How does this happen, over and over again?

The answer’s pretty simple.

Regimes lacking legitimacy back home hunger for validation in Washington.

Desperate for photo ops and always looking for a quick shortcut to a good reputation (instead of the tough but necessary work of good governance) authoritarian “leaders” are quick to fall for slick pitches by sleazy “Beltway Bandits” who inevitably fleece their foreign clients and then, very often by virtue of their own criminal conduct, crash and burn themselves.

It’s no coincidence that the disgraced Tony Podesta represents Azerbaijan—taking millions to suppress Artsakh’s democratic self-determination. No coincidence that Michael Flynn fronted for Turkey—reaping riches to prevent honest American remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. No coincidence that Dick Gephardt and his fellow former U.S. House leader Dennis Hastert—himself, a convicted felon and admitted child molester—aided and abetted Turkey’s obstruction of justice for the mass murder of millions of Christians.

The answer to this darkness is not more darkness, it’s democracy.

It’s American citizens of Armenian heritage—or any heritage—participating in our participatory democracy. Engaging with Members of Congress, state level officials, and municipal leaders. Supporting legislation. Backing appropriations. Building coalitions. Working with the media. The good work—the hard and honest work—of a free people in a free land. #goANCA.

Aram Hamparian

 

Aram Hamparian is the Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Photo: (L to R) Paul Manafort, Tony Podesta, Dennis Hastert, and Michael Flynn.