Is Honesty the Best Policy?

May 12, 2017

Scott C. Miller

Is honesty still the best policy?  Even in politics?  Or is honesty something that is reserved for just some people, like children?  The use of deception in DC goes all the way back to the beginning of US politics. For example, Jefferson hired a hatchet man, James Callendar to smear Adams in 1800 with stories that Adams desperately wanted to attack France. Not true but the lie helped Jefferson win the election.

White House administrations, especially in the modern era of 24/7 news, have found ways to manage their “stories” so that they could attend to at least some of their agendas rather than be embroiled in damage-control mode.

This is not the case now. Both Clinton and Trump were unable to manage their stories during the election and now Trump and his team are facing relentless investigations to get the “truth” about the Russian interference. According to a Quinnipiac poll released on August 2, 63 percent of voters believe Trump does not have good leadership skills compared to 34 percent who answered favorably. When asked if the president “is honest, or not,” 62 percent said they think the president is “not honest,” while 34 percent said he is honest.

Honesty was not integral to the election results. Enough voters who perceived Trump or Clinton as lacking in character for the role, voted for him or her anyway to: 1) get their guy on the Supreme Court, 2) have control of White House, 3) remain loyal to their party, 4) hope that political principles would somehow be carried forward regardless of the leader’s shortcomings. For some, like me, it was a question who did I think is not as bad as the other?

We are now experiencing such a heightened mismanagement of story that the deceptions have become ultra-transparent. Will this exposure elevate honesty and character as serious factors in voting future candidates into the White House or Congress? I hope so.

Honesty is the best policy and should be embraced by those who want to lead in our nation.