2000-08-26 / Columnists

From The G-Man

From The G-Man

Integrity: The Missing Element in Politics

Hey people! Well, we’ve got about 70 days left before we elect the next President, and I, along with thousands of other voters, will exercise my right in choosing a new leader. I don’t know what will happen when I step into that booth because I am filled with despair, anger and dread, and my feelings are a clear illustration of the fact that I have no faith, or confidence, in those seeking the most powerful position in the world.

I watched both conventions, and I came away with absolutely nothing! I’ve seen more drama and suspense on "All My Children". I thought I was going to choke to death on all of the "BS" that was being shoved down our throats. I guess other people felt a lump in their throats as well because the television ratings were in the cellar for both conventions.

Everything at the conventions was scripted. Everything! The speeches, the speakers, the performances and the candidates. I began to wonder does anyone speak from the heart anymore? Does anyone look at the camera and make you believe in them anymore? Does anybody really care about this country and the people in it? For every question I asked, the answer was no.

It’s hard to speak from the heart because campaign contributions, mostly from huge conglomerates, dictate what you should say and do. It’s hard to look into a camera and make people believe in you because you, or your party, have been caught in so many lies and contradictions that no one bothers to listen to you anymore. It’s hard to think that any of them really care about this country, and the people in it, when they sit back and watch the elderly, and poor, suffer tremendously as Wall Street investors boasts about record gains and great times.

I know many will want to label me as a "flaming Liberal" for what I’ve stated in the last paragraph. I’ve got news for you. I hate labels, and the people who engage in such practices make me sick! Above anything else, I am a human being first and foremost. That’s one thing that is wrong with this country. Everyone is so quick to size someone up as "this" or "that" because of a position they take or how they’re perceived. I didn’t realize that being a caring, compassionate, concerned, loving, and spiritual person entitled you to be labeled or scrutinized. According to the many religious texts out there, these are the ways that the Creator intended us to live our lives, but unfortunately we have not, and the political landscape has changed as a result.

The political process is out of control, and the issues, as well as the people, have taken a backseat to the almighty dollar. Fighting for the common man is no longer part of the political picture. You don’t believe it? Just look at how many protests are taking place all over this country, and in every case it’s the same. It’s the little man, or woman, fighting back against the large corporations or the establishment. They are union members, federations, small businesses, community-based organizations and others. No one will address their concerns, including their political representatives, so they take it to the streets, and that’s a pretty sad commentary on our political system.

People are tired of being lied to. People are tired of having to accept the status quo. People are tired of begging elected officials to address or acknowledge them and their concerns. Integrity is nowhere to be found. The proof is in the fact that voter turnout has been on the decline, statewide, for the last 10 years. Something has got to give before we totally lose faith in the political system and heaven help us if that happens. Integrity can make a huge difference in the world of politics. When you engage in a system that value money, power and class distinction over people’s rights, it won’t be long before you have a major revolt, on one level or another, within the country. A man that is willing to stand up and say, "Too many lies are being told, by both parties, to the American public", could have a profound impact on the system. That is why the legacy, and image, of JFK is so strong. In his case, compromise never came at the expense of his convictions or the people he served and it probably cost him his life.

In a world where "double talk", deal making and improvisation rule supreme, it would be so refreshing to have someone actually tell the truth, stand by what they believed in, and did what they said they were going to do. You even have poor Joe Lieberman flip-flopping on certain positions now, and he is viewed as a man of utmost integrity. The system jumped up and bit him in the romp too!

They say you have to compromise in politics, but too many political leaders have taken that to the extreme by compromising their morals and values. Many have lost their integrity, and the voters are starting to react. George W. Bush and "Big Al" have become political drones with no clear vision for the future of this country. Their speeches amount to nothing more than empty promises, and I suspect that the voters will have a very difficult time deciding who to support because they are both confirmed liars. In other words, they come up short in the integrity department.

Regardless of my sentiments, I will be voting. I owe that to my ancestors and myself. I’m not happy about the candidates at all, but I’ll have to make a choice. At this point, even Ralph Nader looks good! It would be so much easier to make my choice if I felt that the man entrusted with the presidency was going to have a sense of honor, loyalty, compassion and most of all…. integrity.

You can reach out for me at

Mapel2000@aol.com. See you next week!

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