Ethics in Government
Posted by 1182cws on October 1, 2007
by Clint Smith
Our first president, George Washington, said “The foundation of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality, and the preeminence of free government will be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its citizens and command the respect of the world.” Our form of government – at all levels – is anchored by the cornerstone tenet that sprung forth from the American Revolution that citizens from all walks of life will voluntarily step forward to represent the populace with honesty and integrity.
When I served in the Georgia House of Representatives, I looked forward to the opportunity to share my insight into government with visiting students from schools in north Georgia. Several students would openly express their desire to become an elected official one day.
At an alarming rate, however, more and more adults express distaste and complete lack of interest in government and politics because of the unethical and immoral behavior of some elected officials. This repudiation has very significant consequences. If honest, informed citizens choose to distance themselves from the political process, the consequences will perpetuate the disturbing trends that we are experiencing:
1. A smaller pool of informed, educated voters will cast ballots, thereby leaving a greater proportion of voters who make decisions on name recognition alone. Unethical incumbents can return to office on Election Day. This unsavory group of politicians includes people who vote and take other actions in an official capacity that enhance the profits of their personal businesses and corporations and elected officials who line up at the feeding trough of lobbyists.
2. Good, solid citizens who would be ideal candidates eliminate themselves from consideration.
Both major political parties are burdened by incumbents who have been an embarrassment because of their personal behavior and/or performance in office.
The solution is accountability. The more scrutiny and analysis of candidates and incumbents the greater likelihood that elected officials will not go astray. The Republican Party is the most realistic vehicle to put the ‘heat’ of accountability on elected officials through activist citizens because:
- As a political apparatus, the GOP allows for the average man and woman to become active and take on leadership positions within the Party.
- These grass-roots Republican activists are at the cutting edge of utilizing modern communication technology through blogs and websites that keep citizens informed about their government.
- The Republican Party has embraced public policy positions that create a greater emphasis on conservative values in our communities.
Many Republican grassroots activists understand that the stakes are high. We have worked years in support of conservative principles. We know that the citizens demand ethical and accountable representation from officials at all levels of government. Keep an eye on the groundswell of activity within the GOP that is determined to steer our organization back in the direction that is best for our state and nation.