We all know that cornered politicians can be dangerous (and, in my experience in both Connecticut and Florida, cornered members of the Bush family are more dangerous still). Science fiction writer David Brin (author also of The Transparent Society) has been letting his imagination run loose, and he's come up with A Timely Warning To All New Democratic Members Of Congress. Calling Brin pessimistic doesn't begin to do it justice,
Let me say that I am less worried about the things that dour pundits normally dwell upon — e.g. political temptations like earmarking and lobbyist dinners — than by something far more profound and potentially devastating. Today's topic is a vital alert that I hope will percolate through channels to every officeholder and/or sincere civil servant, during an era of political transition.
Indeed, it may also be pertinent to some members of the Republican establishment. For we are about to discuss a danger and an opportunity that cross party lines. We’ll be dealing with traits like honor and pragmatism, cynicism and patriotism, cynical self-protection… and courage.
While negotiating the ethical and political minefield that is Washington, always remain wary of a particular worst-case scenario… one that can systematically undermine even the most well-meaning politicians.
That worst-case scenario is BLACKMAIL.
Brin has some sensible advice for avoiding the modern blackmailer. It starts with clean living, but it doesn't end there.