This is in response to Jake Thorn’s article, “Corruption Is Booming, Setting Terrible Example” (Daily Nexus, Oct. 5).

I’m not optimistic.

This is only one of the many differences Jake Thorn and I have. I thought his article on the booming tide of corruption was interesting, intriguing and completely one-sided. I felt compelled to voice my opinion and add some balance.

I agree that many of our leaders are corrupt. This, however, is true of both sides of the aisle. Corruption is not some new revolution limited to the last few years that Republicans have been in power.

I have no intention of trying to defend Karl Rove, Tom DeLay or Bill Frist, partially because I think they’re guilty and partially because I just don’t like them. Just so we are all on the same page, I feel I should define corruption. In broad terms, political corruption is the misuse of public office for the benefit of financial or religious interests to serve some ethnic or other group interest, or for private gain.

With this in mind, it is easy to see why these fine conservatives now find themselves in hot water. Their actions can be described as greedy, unethical and even criminal. But evil? Seems to be quite a strong word. I have always thought of evil leaders as those that kill their own people, like Saddam, Hitler and Stalin. I don’t think Mr. Rove, Mr. DeLay and Mr. Frist have quite risen to that level. But hey, Jake is an optimist; maybe he was just hoping for the best.

Another problem I had with the article was that the author suggested that you had to go to the Third World in order to find corruption any worse than this. I could suggest looking back 30 years, but everyone knows about Nixon. Instead, I’d like to suggest looking across the aisle.

Not too long ago, two political action committees linked to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were being charged with attempting to circumvent the legal limits on campaign giving. According to the March 2004 FEC finding, Pelosi appears to have violated the same kind of campaign finance regulation that spurred the indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

The problem is the corruption that occurs in the Capitol, from campaign finance to the appointment of cronies to high-level government positions. All of our elected officials are leaders and it does matter whether they are the majority party or not. It is possible that, once the Democrats come to power, they won’t engage in any of these illegal activities. But I’m not an optimist.

There is one more thing I wanted to stress. DeLay is being charged in Texas. That said, his possible sentence, if he is convicted, tells you nothing about the severity of his crime. It’s Texas. I’m surprised he’s not facing the death penalty.

In closing, I just wanted to say that I also believe that George Washington and many of our other founding fathers would be pissed if they were here. What do you think would piss them off more, the fact that there are no slaves, or that African-Americans can vote?

Martin Smith is a second-year business economics major.