Letter to the editor: Candidates ‘must lead by the example of their character’


To the editor:

I am writing because I am deeply troubled by the nature of our present political campaigns. Though I find myself in agreement with the positions taken by several of the candidates concerning immigration, security, the economy, etc., I believe there is an even more important element to the present and future well-being of our country which is being destroyed by the way in which campaigns are conducted.

I am speaking of character issues. Common decency and honorable conduct are no longer expected nor are they being practiced as candidates belittle one another, resort to name calling, and are eager to malign others for the purpose of advancing their own cause.

I was taught that whereas it is important what one does, it is equally important what one is. This speaks of the character and honorable conduct of an individual. The greatest problem facing the United States, which also manifests itself in our local community, is the deteriorating decency and respect for others. This issue is basic to life and therefore to the overall health and security of a nation or community. History teaches us that empires fall because the character issues of the society caused them to rot from within.

In the past, leaders were expected not only to present an agenda to those they serve but they were also expected to be an example in honorable conduct. I am saddened that I cannot say to my grandchildren, in reference to those who are seeking the highest office of our land, “this is the kind of man/woman I would like you to be.” I am burdened that as I attempt to teach them that respect for others is right and bullying in the form of verbal or physical attack is terribly wrong, they in turn see it being practiced by those who desire to lead.

In fairness to the candidates, it must be admitted that they resort to these tactics because they are effective. This reality speaks more to the fiber of our society. The fact that such tactics are effective surely indicates that, as a society, we have lost sight of the essential nature of common decency and respect.

I would like to believe that we can reverse this basic decay within our society; that there would be an overwhelming outcry for decency and respect. I am sure that a letter such as this will not achieve that desired end but perhaps it will influence a few to call for, and insist, that those who would lead must also lead by the example of their character. To fail in this is to disqualify themselves for leadership, regardless of their political platforms.

Marvin Hintz