Monday, May 11, 2009

The Saddest Thing About Washington Politics

In recent days many changes have taken place in our country. While these events have caused some to rejoice many wonder where we are headed as a nation and what will be left for those who follow after us. The popularity of the U S Congress is at the lowest point in a long time. The frustrations and concerns of many Americans have gone largely ignored by those who sit on both sides of the aisle. The majority in the media have taken to openly referring to many Americans who voice concerns as trouble makers. Part of our government has labeled at best some of these as people who should be watched and at worst, terrorists. I cannot personally remember a time like this in American history.

While all of this and more is troubling I find part of it to be with out a doubt the saddest thing about politics. There is a lack of a key ingredient in most of those who legislate, govern, carry out policies and sit behind desks of power in our nation's capital. This missing ingredient is probably doing more to harm the present status and future direction of our country than any other single thing. What single thing could be so dangerous? Lack of character.

It is lack of character that will allow a politician to lie to the American people. They simply don't understand that one of the driving elements of frustration in this country is that so many in Washington think that the average American is dumb enough to believe the constant pattern of lies. George Washington understood the importance of character when he said "few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder." Mark Twain also understood the value of character when he wrote the following words in 1901: "Always do right. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest." Many of us in this country would like to be astonished by the abundance of a politician's character.

When character is missing trust has no fertilizer and men begin to do whatever is right in their eyes. When character is no longer valued than the moral and spiritual fibers become strained and begin to fray. When character is no longer elevated than men and women have no problem looking into a television camera and tell whoppers to the people who elected them. When character is lost than those who should have it don't even realize its gone.

I recently read a great story that illustrated personal character and integrity. Thomas Edison once invented a talking doll that had a phonograph inside its body with nursery rhymes that had been previously recorded. It was a one of kind invention. Hundreds of these unique dolls were produced before Edison found out that his company had sold the right to manufacture phonographic toys to another company years before.

Although the other company never complained Edison immediately stopped manufacturing the talking dolls and had the remaining ones destroyed. That was character. He chose to do right because it was the right thing to do.

Perhaps those who have been elected, appointed and hired to fill the all important jobs in government should take stock of themselves and realize the consequences of governing without character. Across this great country there are older Americans and very impressionable younger Americans that are all trying to figure out if there is anyone left inside the "beltway" that can be trusted.

The saddest thing about Washington politics is that those involved have forgotten that the measure of a person's character is what they would do, if they knew they would never be found out. Regardless of what the outcome might be, it is always right do to right!

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