On Honesty

“To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves.”  Will Durant (1885-1981) American writer, historian, philosopher, and the 1968 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction

Well, the campaign ads have begun. Mud-slinging, out-of-context quotes, and general nastiness is now the order of the day. Are you weary of it yet? I am. Like most voters, I want a candidate that is not afraid to take a stand on issues. But when candidates or those that support them descend to personal attacks, it not only betrays a weakness of character but also of political will. Americans want honest statesmen as representatives, not dishonest used car salesmen.

When a candidate focuses more time on criticizing their opponent, it usually means they are trying to hide who they are and distract the public by making their opponent look bad. The death of honesty in advertising is usually the first casualty of a political campaign, and it always humors me when our politicians actually think that Americans are too stupid to understand this fact. However, this time around it is a bit more divisive – the dishonesty is not longer limited to just the political circles but has now overflowed into public commentary. Candidates and those that support them have moved from just criticizing their political opponents to now condemning the American citizenry in general. Yes, dear friends, they are now criticizing all of us for daring to demand honesty, responsibility, transparency, lower taxes and smaller government from our elected officials.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I have no expectation of perfection from my political leaders. We are all human, and we all make mistakes. But what one does with those mistakes is what separates the weak from the strong, the politician from the statesmen. Has a candidate shown that they are capable of learning from their mistakes, and then showing evidence of the wisdom they have gained? Or do they merely use more dishonesty to hide their mistakes (until they get caught, of course) and then accentuate those of their opponent? Think about it…if a candidate is dishonest about their opponent now, what makes you think that they will be honest with you later? Perhaps that is why our politicians are so condescending towards the voting public – why should they respect us if we are not willing to hold the liars to account and can be bought so cheaply with promises of “free” (i.e. other people’s) stuff? 

So, my recommendation is to ignore those campaign ads. They are all half-truths anyway. Investigate those that are running for office. Look at their voting record, check out who they associate with, and see where their campaign money comes from. These are the best indicators of where their true loyalties lie and how well they will represent you in the future.

It is time that the candidates actually run on the issues, honestly and openly. Any candidate that does not should be exposed as the weak coward they are and be rejected outright by the voters. The sooner we expect and demand honesty from our leaders, the sooner we will have leaders that actually give it to us.

 “It’s amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites.” Thomas Sowell (b. 1930) American economist, social critic, political commentator and author

“I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.“ George Washington, 1st American President

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