THE IRON PEN by Daniel Hite

October 14, 2010

On those who represent us

When it comes to representation on the local, state or federal level, I look for more than just how a candidate might vote on the issues. I look for a virtuous leader, one who not only represents my views, but also my values. Now when it comes to determining values, it can get very personal, and well it should. Drilling down beyond the levels of what is important to a candidate concerning the defense of life, the family, marriage, etc., is bedrock moral character: honesty, integrity and fidelity in business and personal life. And perhaps deepest of all is a personal philosophy of life which answers where they came from, why they are here, and where they are going. At this level is where faith informs and shapes their values. Certainly there should be no “religious test” for any public office, but that does not mean that a candidate should be able to opt out of the disclosure of these bedrock ethics which form the core of their personhood.

Representation is more than just reflecting constituents’ views on issues, but also mirroring their values and ethics. This demands a much deeper vetting process than what we currently employ. I have been to “one shot” candidate forums where written questions regarding personal views and values were purposely screened out and only issue-related questions were forwarded to candidates. This ought not to be so. This is a reflection of a system held captive to a belief that only the surface issues matter and character is not important. The system needs to change.

My greatest regret is this: those we have in public office today, and especially those who lead the tabloids and headlines, do represent the morals of the majority voting public! Our country is in need of not only economic recovery, but of moral recovery as well. We are in need of an awakening and stirring of conscience; we are in need of spiritual revival at our deepest level. Domestic and foreign wars have historically surrounded America’s remembrance and return to her philosophical underpinnings. Prayerfully, today’s cultural war in America will be enough to get our attention once again, and not some great physical conflagration at home or abroad to bring us to our knees.

So what does a voter do when no one on the ballot fulfills our requirements?  Do we not vote? I think that kind of response would be more irresponsible and, as they say, “add insult to injury.” We should purpose to encourage good people to run for office and support them in every way. But in the mean time, I suppose we must “hold our noses” and vote against the worst candidate running. God help us.

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