Wednesday, 16 August 2006

In search of an honest politician

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."

Huh? How did she get from honest politicians to the Sermon on the Mount?

Patience, Grasshopper, all shall be explained.

I've had some fairly emotional arguments on the possibility of the existence of honest politicians. What really gets me going is the offhand dismissal of shenanigans by elected representatives with the cynical observation that "they're all like that." The subtext (and far too often the open text) of this is that we should vote for them anyway, because NOBODY is going to be any better, so we might just as well line up behind the one who fills our trough the best.

This just about drives me frantic, although I do my best to keep my composure, because yelling at somebody has a pretty poor track record as a technique to change people's minds.

But I reject this argument wholly and completely. I don't believe for a minute that they are ALL like that. Granted, I'm considerably more cynical than I was three decades ago, and yet I still hunger and thirst for righteousness, or if you prefer, uprightness, first and foremost in my own life. Not only that, I've got a husband who might just as well sign integrity as his second name, which was not a small part of what attracted me to him in the first place.

So why should you give two hoots about my morality, or attempts at it?

Because I am not alone.

While I may often be overly and unjustifiably impressed with myself, I'm not foolish or arrogant enough to believe that I am all that exceptional. We may not be a thundering majority, but people who honestly believe in and strive for integrity, however imperfectly, are out there and it stands to reason that every so often, one or two of them run for public office and in spite of everything, that they occasionally even get elected.

I'll go even further. I believe it's possible for a more or less corrupt politician to sometimes choose to do the right and honest thing just because it is the right and honest thing, if only as an infrequent sop to his conscience.

So I will continue to hope for and even demand integrity of my elected officials. I have every right to, and now and again, I will actually get it.

And when I don't, I'll feel entirely justified in throwing the bum out on his or her ear. The last thing I want is recognized crooks perfecting their corruption techniques at the public trough.

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