Many of us who’ve watched the political scene in America for decades are wondering what happened to honesty and integrity. We can remember when a man’s word was his bond. We remember when truth was significant. We remember when dignity was a virtue.
My first introduction to the political world was in 1956. I started working at a legal firm which was the home office of President Harry S. Truman in Independence, Missouri. It was an entirely new world for this naive Texas girl on her first trip out of the Lone Star State. It was a world in which I had no way to relate, a world of intrigue and mysterious meetings, of power-hungry men, known as the Kansas City political machine, who blew in and out like tornados creating all kinds of confusion and demanding their own agendas and preferential treatment.
Most of the time I existed in a baffled state of mind, but it was an eye-opening experience and I learned that anything to do with politics is never what it appears to be. I learned that behind every political figure is a shadowy figure pulling the “strings.” I learned that promises made in the heat of a campaign are basically only rhetoric and for the most part mean nothing.
As time passed I came to have a deep respect for President Truman, he was a man who stood by his principles in the face of great opposition. He believed in America and that people are basically good. He believed in the Constitution of the United States and considered it his job to uphold and preserve it. During the time period I knew him, I never saw him shift blame to another person or blame another for what happened. I learned the measure of a man is what he does when no one is looking.
Many of you might remember the plaque that stood on his desk in the oval office in the White House. It also adorned his desk in Independence during the time I knew him. The plaque merely said “The buck stops here.” It served him as a reminder that no matter what happened, or who was at fault, the man in charge was ultimately responsible. He never played the blame game.
And now, during this election year I am wondering,
What happened to truth and integrity?
What happened to right and wrong?
What happened to respect and consideration for one another?
Where did accepting responsibility for actions go?
I am heartily sick of the backbiting and sarcasm and nasty comments from all candidates. I am disappointed in the half-truths and exaggerations that undermine all credibility and exhaust the voters. I am saddened for the future of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren who see no honor in our public figures. I am saddened for my many friends, regardless of political leanings, who have been put down or devalued for their opinions. This freedom of speech is a basic liberty protected by the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States.
I thirst for a candidate who would offer truth and hope instead of political warfare, one who would speak to us as rational adults rather than simpletons whose votes can be bought with tongues less than honest. We’ve still got two months to get through—sigh—and I doubt that things will get any better.
When we go to the polls in November, we will be faced with electing a person for the highest office in our country whom more than half the nation distrusts. And the candidates have done this to themselves by dirty politics, underhanded tactics, and political agendas that value power over public service.
One more thing I learned working for President Truman was that public figures—politicians—must answer to an authority bigger than the presidency. President Truman often said that an elected man has two bosses, the Almighty God and the American people who elected him. He would end with the statement if he ever forgot that he would become totally useless to the nation.
Baffled again? You bet I am. As I seek to find peace of mind midst the turmoil, I remember many elections during my lifetime. There have been people who didn’t think they could live with the outcome and that they would have to move to another country. Did they? No, life went on pretty much the same way it always had.
Presidents come and go, but our families and friends do not. They are here to stay and our lives will continue pretty much the same, no matter who is elected. We live our lives in a much simpler way than politicians do, we hold on to what is good and true.
The bottom line is that most of us don’t live in the world of politics, of shadow governments, and hidden agendas. We live with our feet firmly planted on the ground. I am grounded when I remember the most precious thing in this world today is not the election, not the political system, not the government, but my family and friends where trust and integrity still matters.
So what can we do? We make the best choice we can while remembering Almighty God created each of us unique and gave each of us the right to make our own choices. The most important thing we can do is to pray for our family, friends, country, president, congress, and the Supreme Court.
At the end of the day, we must all reach the place where we leave the outcome of this election to a Holy God and just trust Him. After all, He created the world and all in it.
Family and friends are what matters…this is where my heart is.