During the presidential campaign process, we always ask if we can trust the candidates with our nuclear arsenal. Indeed, the power to destroy this planet upon which we live is a terrible authority to put in the hands of any mortal man or woman. Accordingly, we are greatly justified in vetting potential candidates to find those who we can trust with such an epic responsibility.
There is however and equally important trust placed in the hands of those we elect; a trust where often we are not as careful in selecting suitable candidates as we might be. Will and Ariel Durant asked; “… have we developed a natural ethic … strong enough to keep our instincts of acquisition, pugnacity, and sex from debasing our civilization into a mire of greed, crime, and promiscuity?” In other words, it is also important that we elect leaders who can encourage and help build a viable natural ethic that will not lead to the degradation of our civilization. We need to elect leaders that we can entrust with our natural ethic; our civilization; and even, to an extent, our morality. While nuclear warfare is quicker, a lead rope dragging us into immorality and violence can be just as deadly to our civilization. An evil king can lead a country into decay and ruin very quickly. A democracy with evil leaders just takes a little longer but the result is the same.
Brigham Young, Governor of the Utah Territory said; “I like a good government, and then I like to have it wisely and justly administered. The government of heaven, if wickedly administered, would become one of the worst governments upon the face of the earth. No matter how good a government is, unless it is administered by righteous men, an evil government will be made of it.” This has been born out time and time again throughout world history.
As I look back over the Presidents that have served during my lifetime, I can see the wisdom in not only ensuring that the person we elect as the leader of our society is one that can be trusted with “the button,” but can also be trusted with our ethos.
President Jimmy Carter’s, standing as a President is somewhat greater than it might otherwise be when considering his moral and upright character. Indeed part of the success of Ronald Reagan’s presidency is because he did not disappoint us as a man of honor regardless of whether or not you like his economic policies.
On the other hand, our country is smaller because of Bill Clinton’s adolescent indiscretion and subsequent idiotic lying and politicking. We have become a weaker and diminished country because of it. In a different vein our country is not only the poorer in blood and treasure because George W. Bush was a man of war, but we have also lost the moral high ground by unilaterally starting hostilities in Iraq.
As we once again start the process of vetting, selecting and coming to terms with candidates for the 2016 presidential election, should we not also make an effort to ensure that the candidates so proffered are individuals of honor and morality? Should we not select persons that we can trust not only with the power of nuclear holocaust but also individuals that will uphold our national ethic? Whether their moral foundation is born from religion, a deep sense of service, or an intrinsic belief in constitutional principles, all candidates should support our national principles of peace, justice, equity and social morality.
Governor Young stated: “We want men to rule the nation who care more for and love better the nation’s welfare than gold and silver, fame, or popularity.”
Unfortunately, we have failed to elect such leaders in the past and it has made our country less. Alexis de Tocqueville said: “America is great because it is good. If America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
Should we not select candidates of high moral character and judgement that will strive to keep America “good” and therefore, “great.” Potential candidates for the 2016 presidential election are now beginning to step forward. During this process, The Moral Middle will be evaluating each candidate to see if they might be trusted to lead in a moral and ethical manner. Opinions and observations will be shared on this blog.
Samuel Waen Jensen