when I was a cop, many years ago, we had an ordinance that allowed
us to put folks in jail for ďassociation with known characters.Ē
This basically meant that if you were out running around with burglars,
robbers, dope dealers, prostitutes and whatever you were subject
to being arrested yourself. Iím sure that ordinance has long since
been overturned and is no longer on the books, but it was there
for a reason and is useful for my column this week.
What they were trying to enforce was the fact that if you were always
in the company of bad guys, then there must be something wrong with
you as well. The old lie down with dogs and get up with fleas analogy.
You were judged by the quality of your friends. It was simple.
Today we are
in the midst of a great race for the position of President of the
United States of America. Probably the most powerful position on
our planet. We have (at this point) three candidates trying to make
their way to November in the hopes one of them will be elected.
All three have had their character examined in the past several
months. Iím certain all three will undergo much more scrutiny before
this is all over. Politics is a very physical game and not for the
faint of heart.
What is surprising to me is the number of citizens out here who
appear on the news each night and shrug off character flaws as if
they were nothing. These people donít appear to be concerned over
allegations about the candidates. No matter if the information is
verified or not. They allege that Ďthese things are privateí and
donít matter to them.
The man on the street also seems to turn a blind eye when it comes
to the friends and associates of the candidates.
count for anything?
Are we so blasť and foolish that we can convince ourselves that
the people who are close friends of any publicly elected official
, no matter at what level, do not exercise some degree of influence
over the elected official? Do you think that people who donate millions
of dollars to someoneís campaign do so out of the purity of their
heart without ever wanting something in return?
I donít think so.
Arenít we known
by the company we keep? As someone once wisely saidÖĒShow me a manís
friends and Iíll show you the man.Ē I have to believe that the talking
heads we see each night on the news choose to ignore the real concerns
a lot of us have about the quality and character of the candidates
running for public office. None of us want crooks in any position
to exert authority over us, nor do we want persons of low moral
character to run our nation. In my mind the person behind the scenes
very much controls the visible person in any move that he or she
makes, or will make in the future.
We ask, no a better word is demand, character in our police officers
and church officials. If this is important, and it is, then why
isnít character important in political races as well? How can we
elect judges whose campaigns are funded by the very attorneys and
law firms whose cases will soon appear in those courts? How can
we allow lobbyists to control pieces of legislation which results
in laws that have grave effects upon all of us?
defined as the things you do when no one is around to see. So, how
can a lack of character be called Ďprivateí when we are trying to
choose someone who has the ability in their hands to lead us into
nuclear war or economic chaos? How can someoneís personal life be
kept separate and secret when you are representing an entire nation
of 300 million persons? Donít your actions speak volumes about your
beliefs and judgment? Are we to blindly accept only your public
side without being concerned over your personal side as well as
the people you associate with?
If you have no character in the small things, how will you react
to the big things?
President of the United States, in my mind, is a very big thing.
Character counts, donít forget it.