“Acting as an example to other nations of how free people defend their liberty without sacrificing the moral conviction upon which it is based, respect for the dignity possessed by all God’s children, even our enemies. This is what made us the great nation that we are.” – Senator John McCain
Senator McCain also said, “We live in a land made from ideals, not blood and soil. We are custodians of those ideals at home, and their champion abroad.”
Where are the John McCain’s of today, the political leaders who put the nation beyond their party? Americans are confronted with a crisis of political leadership today that is older than the Old Testament, both timeless and universal. Our politics is but a reflection of our divided society as a whole. A moral crisis confronts our nation, our state, and our district.
One of the questions we must ask ourselves as the midterms approach is this, “Are we to treat others as we want to be treated?” Both the Old and New Testaments say that we should, but this part of the Judeo-Christian ethic is too often ignored by our modern-day political figures in both parties.
We increasingly hear political language from our leaders that denigrates and disparages others. The word “dog” is being used to describe a black woman and a disabled reporter is ridiculed. We see actions that cause great suffering, such as separating children from their parents and placing the children in cages.
There is immorality, corruption, and crime at the highest levels of political leadership. GOP congressmen have been indicted recently for insider stock trading and the illegal use of campaign money. A Democratic Senator resigned after sexual improprieties were revealed.
Meanwhile, the former campaign manager for the federal government’s chief executive has been convicted of tax evasion and bank fraud. while others at the highest levels of government have plead guilty to serious crimes.
Our nation’s soul is now for sale.
There is, as with all missteps in history, a reckoning coming. Our greatest tool to address this moral crisis is to insert ourselves into the field of political action.
We must elect new leaders of both parties with moral courage. The courage to do what is right, regardless of political affiliation. We must support those who enter into public service to do the most good for the most people and reject those seeking to divide us for personal gain.
There is a story out of Boston from 1770, five years before the war begins, that is instructive for our times. The cousins, Sam Adams and John Adams, find themselves on different political paths. The rift had strained family relations, much like we see today in America over politics.
Sam was a vocal and leading patriot for independence, but John had yet to commit. His loyalty was split between the Crown and those following his cousin.
There was an argument between the two that ended when Sam raised his voice, approached his cousin and said, “Cousin, the time for picking sides is over!”
In the end, of course, John picked the right side. That is where we are in our country today.
The time for picking sides is over. It is now time to stand up and be counted. Demand accountability from elected officials and take no less. Vote for honesty and integrity in your political leaders rather than for party labels.
A retired Fayette County teacher, Bill Lightle is a candidate for Georgia State Senate (District 16). Jack Bernard, a retired business executive, is a former County Commission and County Republican Party Chairman.