The explosive revelation this week from a federal judge that former President Donald Trump signed legal documents that challenged the results of the 2020 election in Georgia despite being told by his lawyer that his voter fraud claims were false illustrates the country’s dire political mess.
In my book, telling lies just isn’t cool. Spreading them is just as bad.
Just how did the United States of America, beacon of liberty and justice, get so far down a road that election deniers and political liars have so reshaped the landscape that telling the truth is no longer embraced by far too many elected leaders? How did we get to this place in history where facts don’t seem to matter and people argue about things that are as clear as night and day? How did we stop trusting doctors and teachers and police and our leaders? And how do we get back to a place that Ronald Reagan, quoting from our history, called “the shining city on the hill” — the envy of the world?
When you vote in the November elections this year, we strongly encourage you to look deeply into your choices and determine whether the candidates you support are people who back false claims and false narratives of what’s going on in America or people who embrace traditional concepts like telling and accepting the truth — no matter how hard it may be.
Ask yourself what a candidate is for and if s/he works for the greater good of everyone. Ask yourself whether a candidate is motivated to improve your community, not just gain power for power’s sake.
In short, consider applying a new four-question test to political candidates based on a 24-word creed of business ethics adopted in 1943 by the nation’s Rotary clubs. Some 90 years ago, a Chicago businessman was asked to take charge of a company facing bankruptcy.
“We believed that ‘in right there is might,’ businessman Herbert J. Taylor later wrote, “and we determined to do our best to always be right.” He developed The Four-Way Test to guide his business and its relationships:
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
The guidelines worked and the company prospered. More importantly, lives changed — the kind of changes needed now in America’s gutter politics.
Imagine if America’s politicians were held again to such a high standard. We could get on with the business of prospering, not bickering.
Twenty years after penning the test, Taylor wrote, “We have enjoyed a constant increase in the good will, friendship and confidence of our customers, our competitors and the public and what is even more valuable, a great improvement in the moral character of our own personnel. We have found that you cannot constantly apply the Four-Way Test to all your relations with others eight hours each day in business without getting into the habit of doing it in your home, social and community life. You thus become a better father, a better friend and a better citizen.”
So as you prepare to vote Nov. 8, consider candidates that will lead your communities who tell the truth and are fair. South Carolina — and the United States — needs leaders with integrity, leaders who seek truth and avoid corruption and scandal.
Apply Rotary’s Four-Way Test to hold this year’s slate of candidates as the standard for them to emulate as they make decisions for everyone, not just people in their political tribe.
- Do they tell the truth?
- Are they fair?
- Do they work to build goodwill and better friendships?
- Do they work to be beneficial to all concerned?
There should be consequences for political leaders of any party who tell lies and aren’t fair to everyone they represent. They should become ex-leaders or ex-candidates as soon as possible. The election is just around the corner. Vote.
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