There was a word described in the Grove Sun a few weeks ago that I wish to revisit in this week's column. The word was “probity.” It simply means honesty.

I admit that I am a political junkie, especially when it comes to presidential campaigns, and that is part of the rub. I love spirited debates, even though I am strictly an “arm chair” debater. I do not personally enjoy arguing, probably because I seldom win.

I do, however, love to listen to the different ideologies espoused by the candidates and how each is convinced that he/she is the only person who can possibly deliver America from the deep, dark recesses of despair.

I genuinely strive to find agreement with most of them in some fashion, and on as many issues as possible. Admittedly, some of the candidates’ expressive styles are easier to swallow than others, but that has to do with personal preference. In my particular case, it generally has little to do with party affiliation so much as it does with actual issues and the candidate's character.  

The thing that absolutely drives me “bonkers” is to watch and listen to any of them lie about an opponent or a position. They know that what they are spewing is not the truth, and they know that the audience knows it is not the truth. Yet, time and again, you will see them tell the audience whatever they think it wants to hear.  Getting elected seems far more important than what might be the truth.

Also, in the very same speech or debate, you will hear them (out of the other side of their mouth) tell  how they are the one person who can bring integrity back to government and the White House. Aren't lying and integrity mutually exclusive? I personally do not want someone, as our president, representing America if he or she cannot tell the difference between the two or simply does not care to discern.

Oscar Wilde states that, "Circumstances should never alter principles."

In my estimation, there has been “a bucket full” of principle altering in this political season. One simple example will suffice to make my point.  I remember in 2000 when a vicious lie completely derailed John McCain's candidacy. Even though I supported George W. Bush, I was shocked and disappointed to see our future president stoop to such vile means to win an election.

I would also have thought that an honest man, as I supposed John McCain to be, would have remembered the viciousness committed against him and vow never to conduct himself in such a manner. However, that was the exact method he used against one of his previous opponents in this year's campaign. Is getting elected so important that you would sell your character?

A national hero you may be Mr. McCain, but shame on you, because if anyone should know better, you should. A lie is a lie no matter where it comes from and no matter the circumstances. I was ready to stand as one of McCain’s supporters because I lean more to his brand of ideology than some of the others, but I will not support him due to his lack of principles. What happened to straight talk? I have always understood that one of the related meanings of “straight” is “honesty.”

Do you really want someone in the White House representing America to the world whose definition of honesty is “whatever is convenient to further a particular agenda?” If a candidate will lie to get elected, that same person will lie in the execution of America's business. Politicians owe America more than that. We deserve more than that, and we should demand more.

It saddens me to think that we as Americans have become so immune to our political leaders lying that we do not give it a second thought. It appears more important to be a democrat, a republican, a liberal, a moderate, a conservative, or whatever, than it is to be honest.  Should we not have expectations of honesty from those who govern, regardless of their affiliation?  

Don't you just hate it when someone gets on his soapbox?

Mr. T out