What does honesty mean to you? What do you think it means to our legislator's in Washington? Is there an effort to teach honesty in schools? Although my upbringing was in a house where honesty was preached by deed, example and through teaching as I reached adulthood I saw dishonesty displayed regularly and it troubled me. Then an anecdote brought the subject in a way that has been with me ever since. As president of a developing social club I was in need of a legal opinion and asked a lawyer-member for advice. I invited Richard Bowerman to lunch to discuss the legal situation. Dick was a Lawyer and volunteer as were all of us in our venture.
After the meal I said I would pick up the bill. Dick said and I think these were his actual words,"George, I will pay my part. I don't even accept a match to light my cigarette." Of course he was say ling in few words that he was incorruptible by accepting nothing that could be called a bribe. I have thought of that incident off and on ever since and that was 65 years ago.
It seems to me the attitude about honesty is at present "Anything you can get away with is acceptable." A further degeneration is, "Everybody else is doing it so I'll do it, too." That is the situation in life as it is lived at present in Washington, DC.
Larger and larger favors by lobbyists and it becomes more and more difficult for a vote against the position of the briber when a vote is required. All we the people have to bribe with is our vote and some small donations. The briber's salary is paid by we the voters as a "cost of doing business" and reflects those who hire him or her.
It is often said that if a legislator goes to Washington as an honest person he or she sheds that quality in order to survive. After all, to survive demands cash for running a campaign. Lobbyists often run money making functions for candidates and corporations have ways of individuals contributing often obscene amounts of cash to the one being compromised.
Legislators are faced today with the acid test of voting with the corporations and against we the people. President Obama recognizes this fact and knows if there is a possibility of changing the dishonesty in Washington it has to start with the people winning the present health care legislation working through the houses of congress.
Although there are those who would continue to convince voters that the Government (you and I) cannot run a plan as well as a corporation. I see a man walking on the moon who was not put there by a corporation. I see Social Security, the Veterans Administration, Medicare and Medicaid, the Police and Military, Public Libraries, Fire Fighters, Elections and our Democracy itself as proof of our effectiveness. On the other hand it was the corporations that caused the turmoil and suffering we face today and in the past.
So if my reasoning is sound this battle is between people and corporations we may be in a fight to the death of our Republic. Never forget Abraham Lincoln's words something like, "The advent of corporations will be the end of the Republic. Fight for a single payer plan.