Honesty and politics

Published 9:01 pm Tuesday, October 30, 2012

By Roger Leonard

It seems rather simple. We ask our leaders be honest and open with us when we give them the power to rule over us. In this grand bargain, we must reflect upon how this has worked for — or more pointedly, against — us these last several years. Is the deal broken?

No one doubts that to live in a “civilized society” we must have rules and a plan. That plan, by mutual agreement, must include the construct or framework of services and projects that serve the common good.

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Some believe very little should be done, while others hold the view that government solves all. In modern times, it can be difficult to determine who is right or if both are right. As with most things in life, the latter is probably acceptable to most.

Americans are a proud and opinionated lot. They have the ingrained attitude that we can solve any problem, serve any purpose, and have the unalienable right to a good life. During the last 300 years, the small English, French and Spanish outposts in the “New World” have become the most powerful nation of free people on Earth. They have aspired to great things and have done great works.

We have put a man on the moon, developed the creature comforts that only royalty had several generations ago, but we are failing to grasp responsibility for ourselves. We are healthier (even if fatter) and longer-lived, but we are an absolutely polarized society.

That polarization of society points at how our leadership has utterly failed us. We are in a time where our leaders lie to us to get the latest sound bite over their opponents. We see leaders promising anything and everything to get into or to stay in power. It is true that politicians have lied since we all lived in the caves to gain such power. Recently, though, it has become a corrosive sport that creeps upon our republic.

After watching several election cycles and pondering over the years what is right or wrong with the picture, I have come to the conclusion that less government is almost always better. Free markets, unfettered minds and free will are important. Many are using lies to foster dependency to buy votes, and that ensures failure. We accept what we want to hear from our leaders, when we should demand the truth and results. We are failing to hold the individual accountable, and some even believe that government can solve the madness it is cultivating.

To this end, we will suffer and fail as a nation if we do not demand the truth and resolve to support leaders who work for us, not themselves.

Right now, I fear for my grandchildren. I fear that if we do not rise up and secure our republic soon, it will be too late. We will become a miserable place that has failed and that is broken.

So I would propose that when you enter that voting booth on Tuesday, you ponder this warning. Your vote is powerful, and it holds your future and mine. Use it wisely and with care, as we do deserve the leaders we get.

Roger Leonard is from Suffolk. Email him at rogerflys@aol.com.