As children we learned that honesty was the best policy. When we get older some people forget this lesson. They’re called politicians.
Mark Twain once humorously called Congress “America’s only native criminal class.” We laugh, but when politicians campaign saying one thing and then do the opposite it assaults the very foundation of our representative democracy.
How can the people control their government if they are lied to by those who go to Washington to decide policy? How can they know what they’re voting for?
Pundits are quick to blame the voters for the country’s problems. After all, they say, we elected the bums.
But hold on.
Jimmy Carter promised to balance the budget, but never submitted a balanced budget to Congress. Four years later he was defeated by Ronald Reagan, who likewise promised a balanced budget and never submitted one. Then George Bush promised he would not raise taxes. He did. Bill Clinton defeated him promising a middle-class tax cut that he soon abandoned.
A number of Congressmen have pledged to limit their time in office knowing that’s what the voters want. The good news is that most of those who made the term limits pledge are keeping it. Those few who aren’t keeping their word have denied citizens an honest choice in elections.
We cannot allow politicians to break their word in the belief that they’re all dishonest. They aren’t all dishonest, and we must hold them accountable for their words and deeds. Honesty is not only the best policy; it’s the only way that we as citizens can have a say in our government.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.