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Accountability Is Important From Leaders

Holding people accountable for their actions is important, especially in politics. Today there are two “inquiries” going on which are focused on accountability–one in Washington and the other in Albany.

The Washington inquiry relates to what happened on January 6. The leadership of the Republican Party has, more-or-less, trashed this effort. They still fear the power of Donald Trump and are afraid to endorse anything that might lead to his door. They seem to have forgotten his speech at the Ellipse on the Mall that day firing up the crowd and encouraging them to assault the Capitol.

I know that some look upon Nancy Pelosi as some kind of “ogre” who has only partisan interests at heart. However, I give her credit for “sticking to her guns” and convening an official inquiry into what happened on that infamous day which occurred last January in our nation’s capital. In normal times, like after the Watergate break-in, there would have been full bi-partisan support for a special investigative committee. This time, the Senate Republican leadership said “No” and only two Republican members of the House apparently had the courage to serve on such a panel.

It is too early to tell, but I am hopeful that this Committee can still get to the bottom of what happened that day so that it is forever remembered as a blight on the democratic foundations of our government. Perhaps the former President will be found to be only one of many responsible for what happened. But, anyone listening to his speech that day would be hard-pressed to conclude that it had no effect on the mob.

The other inquiry we need to keep our eye on is the one in Albany investigating the Governor’s actions in allegedly withholding information related to how the pandemic affected nursing homes and the recent conclusions of a formal investigation by the Attorney General that he sexually harassed several women. This kind of thing cannot just be “swept under the rug.”

At the state level, most of the Republicans (unlike in Washington) are more than ready to investigate and impeach Governor Cuomo. However, since they are now out of power with a diminished minority in the legislature, it will be up to Democrats to deal with and make a judgment on these serious accusations of misconduct. Early reactions by the Majority Leader of the Senate and Speaker of the Assembly indicate that the Attorney General’s Report is being taken seriously. It is also possible that the Governor could resign rather than face impeachment.

Whether at the national or state level, the public will not look kindly on inaction on these matters. The people are demanding an honest and impartial assessment of what happened. It so happens that leadership on these issues at both the state and federal level is now in the hands of Democrats. If they run an unbiased and thorough investigation into what has happened, the public will support the outcome. If they conduct something else, they will pay for it politically.

The Republicans also face the “Scylla and Charybdis” of public opinion. If they strive only to investigate a Democrat in Albany, and not one of their own in Washington–public opinion will turn against them. The public does not want a “white-wash” in either case–just the truth.

Requiring accountability from our elected officials is one of the “checks and balances” of our constitutional form of government.

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.

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