Honesty is the best politics
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