Character flaws

Dear Editor:

Particularly in an election year comments, stories and jokes about politicians’ character flaws flow freely from many sources, often centering on the idea that they are “all liars” and will say whatever an audience wants to hear. Could it be this trait is considered by many to be essential for a candidate to be worthy of their vote?

If a candidate professes a faith, does it not lead to repeated questions and speculations about that faith potentially influencing their decisions if elected? “Yes”, stated or implied, is considered by some to be a disqualifier, while “no” makes the candidate acceptable. “No” would also seem to indicate a hypocrite and/or liar for professing to believe one thing but perfectly willing to do something contrary that belief. If this “no” candidate wins the election then why are we surprised if problems arise with the new office holder’s truthfulness, use of campaign funds, “interactions” with interns, abuse of power, attitude of being above the law, etc. when a lack of firmly held beliefs (character) was a requisite for their election.

Maybe we should very carefully consider what Noah Webster wrote in 1789: “In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate—look to his character…” George Washington expressed similar thoughts. These men did not subscribe to the idea popular today that private and public morality can be separated.

David Greer, Cambridge

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