Baltimore Sun: Westeros on the Potomac
In “Game of Thrones,” the popular HBO series that returned for a seventh season this week, the kings and queens of mythical Westeros have a brazen disregard for anything that doesn’t provide them with greater wealth or power. Indeed, the most prominent character of honor on the show, Ned Stark, was killed off in the first season. For the average viewer, watching the self-indulgent and duplicitous behavior of those seeking to sit on the Iron Throne is initially shocking but, after it happens over and over again, soon seems normal. The non-royals of the seven kingdoms — peasants, soldiers, tradesmen and the like — have little choice but to accept the machinations of those in power, some loyally, others ruefully.
Most Americans probably wouldn’t recognize Walter M. Shaub Jr. if he knocked on their door and offered them free HBO, but he resigned from his post at head of the Office of Government Ethics on Tuesday in protest of how the Trump administration has flouted ethics laws and traditions. On his way out the door, he’s offering an important message: The U.S. needs to toughen the federal ethics system.