On this election-eve there still may be some voters pondering the choices before them. Let me suggest that among the factors one uses to arrive at those decisions, decency should be a central theme.
If we, as Americans, are to succeed in the enterprise of freedom through self-government, decency must be upheld as a necessary quality of our public discourse. However, during this election cycle, common decency has been under assault. Therefore, I recommend to you dear reader, significantly consider the quality of decency and fair play in your civic activities.
Here in Georgia, there are two constitutional amendments on the ballot. Both of which are intentionally worded in a way to skew the vote through emotion and un-validated claims. Free and fair elections are not just a matter of ethical management of voter rolls and access to polling places. Issues that are for the voters to decide should be presented in a clear and objective way, with the T-SPLOST ballot measure back in July we saw politicking within the wording on the ballot and we are seeing it again for these two amendment measures. Regardless of the merits of the measures themselves, this practice of politicizing the wording with the ballot is wrong, and goes against a reasonable sense of decency. The Governor’s and Secretary of State’s offices are being rightly criticized for a lack of fair play.
On the national level, recently the Obama campaign produced a campaign ad that set an all-time low on the decency scale for political campaigns. The ad featured a young woman using verbiage with a double meaning to compare the act of voting for Barack Obama with the act of a young woman losing her virginity, telling the audience that they should “wanna’ do it with a great guy.”
The indecency of this ad occurs on so many dimensions. It degrades women not only by crossing the line into such a private matter but also by suggesting that the only interest women have in politics is with respect to their body parts. On another level, it is easily recognizable that much of the physical, emotional and economic suffering experienced by young people today is a result of sexual promiscuity. Yet this Obama campaign ad glorifies the risky and destructive “hook-up” culture. The Obama campaign will claim that it wants to “keep the government out of your bedroom,” but is more than ready to bring the edgy bedroom, or back ally, right into a political ad. The hypocrisy is deafening. The Obama campaign has the indecency to mock the virtue of young women for the purpose of scoring with a vulnerable voting block.
Locally, here in Troup County in the run up to the July primary, several prominent people in powerful government positions also demonstrated a gross lack of decency. Generally slander and libel should not be tolerated in any community of people, and particularly should not be tolerated when conducted by persons in public office. However, in what seemed to be a desperate bid to maintain total control of local government, the local ruling class planned, funded and deployed a libelous smear campaign against political candidates who had not been invited to run.
Being one of the targets of that smear campaign, I have first-hand knowledge of not only the level of untruth of the lies fabricated by the libel campaign but also have knowledge of the arrogant gloating by the perpetrators and their pride in their deplorable political trick. Given that these people are considered by some to be “leaders” in the community, perhaps citizens who themselves hold to reasonable values of decency in their own affairs should become more aware of the reality of what our government has become.
The founders of our nation recognized that our liberty is dependent on the moral decency of the citizens. It is well past time that the citizenry become demanding of decency in government. Today, when we have the moral courage to cast a critical eye at our government and elected officials, we realize that city and county halls, the state capital, and certainly in far-away (but ever suffocating) Washington, DC, have become very sordid places. If our children are to inherit only a chance to live prosperous and free, we must clean up our act.
No matter what the outcome is within the election numbers tomorrow. The future of our nation rests upon the moral character of our society.