Hon­esty is the best pol­i­tics

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TOPSTORY! -

WIKIPEDIA has “hon­esty” down to a ba­sic def­i­ni­tion: “Hon­esty is a facet of moral char­ac­ter that con­notes pos­i­tive and vir­tu­ous at­tributes such as in­tegrity, truth­ful­ness, straight­for­ward­ness, in­clud­ing straight­for­ward­ness of con­duct, along with the ab­sence of ly­ing, cheat­ing, theft, etc. Hon­esty also in­volves be­ing trust­wor­thy, loyal, fair, and sin­cere.”

The Brother­hood of Chris­tian Busi­ness­men and Pro­fes­sion­als (BCBP) takes that to heart with its om­nipresent bill­boards: “Be hon­est: Even if oth­ers are not. Even if oth­ers will not. Even if oth­ers can­not.” And on each post, it quotes Psalm 10:9: “He who walks hon­estly, walks se­cur el y.”

Ben­jamin Franklin, founder and fig­ure in Amer­i­can en­light­en­ment, left us with “Hon­esty is the best pol­icy.”

Think of all the cliches about be­ing hon­est, they have been well en­trenched in all as­pects of val­ues ed­u­ca­tion we ever had. Oh, there’s Mark Twain, too: “When in doubt, tell the truth.” Think of that grip of guilt in our guts when we told lies as chil­dren. There was obe­di­ence, dili­gence, in­dus­try, but there was al­ways “hon­esty” top­ping the list.

So how come there is pal­pa­ble tol­er­ance when, in the hot sea­son of pol­i­tics, one leader would say politi­cians don’t need to be hon­est? What had be­come of peo­ple? How on earth did we ar­rive at this point of be­ing soft about ly­ing, and ly­ing by sup­posed lead­ers and pub­lic ser­vants?

The po­lit­i­cal writer Paul Burka once wrote that the need to el­e­vate one­self above the crowd is one of the rea­sons politi­cians lie. Politi­cians need to build nar­ra­tives where they be­come larger than life, to be the cen­ter of the uni­verse. “The dif­fer­ence be­tween em­bel­lish­ment and in­ven­tions is one of de­gree, not of kind,” said Burka.

Ly­ing is one of the con­stant temp­ta­tions of pol­i­tics, said Burka. “Politi­cians have an un­writ­ten code that sanc­tions de­ceit un­der cer­tain cir­cum­stances,” he said.

The best among them would say it’s a prac­ti­cal game re­quire­ment. One needs to be prag­matic in the ne­go­ti­a­tions game if one is to sur­vive in the in­ter­sec­tions of power play.

But that is rather un­for­tu­nate. The cam­paign sea­son is sup­pos­edly that high mo­ment when char­ac­ters are mag­ni­fied so cit­i­zens can make the right choices on who gets to lead them.

That it is on of­fi­cials that we en­trust gov­ern­ment’s large re­sources is one rea­son we de­mand hon­esty. We de­mand clear demon­stra­tions of hon­esty, be they in track record, in the con­duct of their cam­paign, and even in their per­sonal lives.— Sun­nex

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