I responded that indeed I was very much so.
“Yes, our so-called leaders are blatantly tearing the country apart then blaming others and their victims for the terrible problems.”
Jorge shook his head and said, “They are not our public servants, they are dishonest people using their positions to build up their prestige and egos. They refuse to be held accountable to the public.”
My friend leaned back on the sofa and said that he was angry that we have to spend so much of our precious time together complaining about politics instead of philosophy.
I agreed with his point but added that since he had brought up the word “accountable” that we were discussing an important, ages old aspect of philosophy.
Jorge smiled and replied, “You are equating accountability with responsibility.”
Jorge understood where I was going with this word-play. “Fair enough. A responsible person is someone who is accountable for his actions and someone who holds himself accountable is someone who is responsible for everything he is in charge of.” Then my friend picked up his phone to look up the word “accountable”.
“Webster says, ‘subject to giving an account: answerable. held her accountable for the damage.’ Yes, I can equate accountable and responsible. It’s like I’m responsible for my employer’s truck and the cargo it contains. Because these are my responsibilities, I am also held accountable for their condition at our destinations.”
I mentioned that President Harry Truman had the famous little sign on his desk, “The Buck Stops Here”.
Jorge became more serious and said, “That’s when the President was held fully accountable for the well-being of the citizens and the country. Now we only have dishonesty, abuse of power, corruption, and theft of the public trust.”
“Basically, when things go well, we love to take credit for the successes. When things go wrong we also must be accountable and take responsibility for the failures.”
I saw that both of us were getting worked up by worrying over the country’s political quagmire.
“Jorge, I think it’s my responsibility to be a good host and steer the conversation towards more personal topics. Maybe it’s time to take a walk so we can enjoy our short visit even more.”
“Yes, I have a long drive ahead.” Jorge grinned, “I have to hold you accountable for making sure my rest break is restful.”