Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Right and Left (07/31/14)
- TITLE: The Politician's Creed
By Jolene Laughlin
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Every other year a waterfall of mud, slime, and sewage spills out over the American people in the form of political campaigns and candidate advertisement. Even in the off years political parties still manage to prod the American people into reviling, berating, arguing, and condemning each other over politics.
Regardless of what politicians and their advisors think, this accomplishes very little good. It succeeds only in dividing communities, damaging families, assassinating the character of well-meaning people, and wedging the right and left further and further apart. Sadly, it has become the accepted practice for politicians of both major parties, and is doing untold the damage to our collective psyche.
Poll after poll shows that Americans, from the right and the left, are disgusted with the system but because we embrace such wildly differing opinions and beliefs, there are few ideas on how to fix it. Politicians are expected to faithfully represent our tangled mess of values and expectations.
Perhaps it's time we all insist, regardless of our party affiliation, that American politicians exhibit some basic characteristics--like dignity, courtesy, kindness and respect, exemplified in the following creed:
As a candidate for public office, I will not engage in vicious smear campaigns against my opponents. I will not twist the facts or exaggerate the truth or put words into their mouths. I will not mock, deride, degrade, or humiliate my fellow candidates, their spouses, children, or family members in my efforts to get elected or to govern. I will not allow my campaign managers, advisors, or staff members to do so either.
Likewise, I will not manipulate my own words or actions of the past to make them seem more or less than they were. I will not lie, mislead, or prevaricate. I will admit to my actions honestly and openly and will refrain from revising history to curry favor with voters.
I will respect all people and grant them the right to be treated courteously, even those --especially those-- who do not respect themselves enough to act and speak with dignity.
I will do all that I can to make my decisions and actions transparent and understandable to the public. If I get into office and find that I am unable to be as transparent as I would like for the good of the public safety, I will be honest and admit that to the people I govern.
I will be a good steward of the monies entrusted to our government and will openly and freely give an account of our expenditures. Government funds come from the pockets of hard working citizens and I am committed to the conscientious management of those funds.
I will refrain from endorsing outlandish governmental expenses and will not vote to give billions of dollars in aid to other countries until our budget is balanced and it is clear to American citizens where this money is coming from and how it affects our ability to pay back our national debt.
I will not promise to never raise taxes, because our national debt is a collective debt that reflects on and affects each one of us, but I will promise not to slip tax increases into obscure bills without public knowledge and will ensure that the tax money already being collected is used conscientiously and appropriately before requesting more.
Lastly, as I have run my campaign in such a way that my opinions, values, and ideals have been clear, I will assume that if I am elected, those voting for me respect and support my opinions, values, and ideals and expect me to vote and govern accordingly.
I will continually keep at the forefront of my mind, however, that many of the citizens in our country disagree with or oppose my opinions, values, and ideals. In light of this, I am committed to listening with courtesy and respect to differing opinions and proposed changes by colleagues who represent values and ideals other than my own, remembering that they too, were elected by American citizens.
I will faithfully strive to communicate clearly, seek understanding, and reach common ground with those who disagree with me. If common ground is not possible, I will follow my convictions and those of the people I represent as kindly and agreeably as I can without denigrating those who disagree.
The foregoing creed encompasses my intentions and sets forth my expectations of public service.
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