I asked some people recently, “If you could choose one character trait you would most desire in politicians what would that be?” I got a number of different answers and I’m sure that if I polled my friends list and social media I would get a wide array of character traits. Let me give you some that I was given and my response to them.
LISTED NOT NECESSARILY IN ORDER OR IMPORTANCE….
I was told that ‘honesty’ is the most important quality in a political figure. But to take Bill Clinton’s approach to definitions what does honesty mean? When it comes to right and wrong it is incredibly important but even then differing moral ideals might render the definition of what is ‘honest’ differently. When it comes to speaking what one believes, honesty is important but some despots throughout history were honesty in describing what they desire/desired to do. Hamas is ‘honest’ in their declaration they want to obliterate Israel from the face of the earth but is that being honest in the sense of a quality you desire in someone?
I was told that ‘being transparent’ was critical for a political candidate so the voters could know exactly what they were getting. Again if by ‘transparent’ we mean never obstructing investigations and being brutally honest and truthful about what has happened or is happening, that would or could be a good thing. If we mean being ‘transparent’ as Hitler became transparent in his desire to eliminate the Jews and build a Super Race while becoming dictator of the world if that is the transparency it is not a valued quality.
While I desire that those elected to high office know God and have the moral fiber that should accompany Christianity the interpretation of what being a ‘Christian’ involves is so vastly different among many I’m not sure of the value that distinction would afford with regard to elected office. I am a Christian and not ashamed to acknowledge it but we’ve had people who claimed to be and maybe are Christians who have been terrible leaders.
I had one person declare that only a ‘patriot’ should be elected to office and on some levels I would agree but again what do we mean when we say PATRIOT? I know what I mean but what I mean and what someone like Barack Obama means are worlds apart so while I want the leaders to be patriots I would need to quality the definition for it to be my ONE CHARACTER TRAIT I would have if I could choose it.
As I gave this some thought I realized that it would be almost impossible to desire only ‘one’ character trait. I want the elected officials to be honest, transparent, patriots, and men/women of character. I would like for them to be Christian under my definition and won’t get into that. I want them to be lovers of America, Freedom, the Rule of Law, and defenders of the Constitution of the United States of America. I want them to be for Limited Government, Reduced Spending, Less Taxes, and Sensible Regulations. I am not a ‘no government’ person but a ‘limited government’ one.
So what one character trait, if I could only choose, would I place at the top of my list? I would have to say INTEGRITY for this little noun carries a wealth of meaning all of which I would desire in a candidate and believe would propel them into the others that I heard.
Integrity (n) –
1. The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. Synonyms: Honesty, probity, rectitude, honor, good character, principles, ethics, morals, righteousness, morality, virtue, decency, fairness, scrupulousness, sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness.
2. The State of being whole and undivided.
Synonyms: Unity, unification, coherence, cohesion, togetherness, solidarity.
If I could instill in the heart and core being of a political candidate any one thing it would be INTEGRITY for in it I believe I would find the other qualities desired springing from the roots of that characteristic. Sadly, I do not see many, if any, political candidates who demonstrate INTEGRITY and that saddens my heart.
May God bless you and may God bless America!