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Opinion: Leaders or Scoundrels? 2010 Election Could Change Everything

By Jennifer Hartline
October 27th, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It's appalling that so many men and women without honor are rising to positions of consequence. What has happened to honor? Give me a man who would rather die than behave dishonorably. Give me a woman who will not degrade herself or spill her own child's blood. Give me a leader who inspires by virtue of his character and actions.  Give me a leader who serves. I still believe there are men and women with honor out there and they could be our elected leaders. The question is, will we choose them?

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - There's nothing quite like election season to leave a bitter taste in your mouth, is there?  This year's campaigning is particularly acidic.  I'd say I'll be relieved when it's over but the problem is it never seems to end.

When I take note, state by state, of the weasely, dishonest, greedy, smug, power-drunk creeps that are being elected and re-elected to our government's chambers, I am both disgusted and flabbergasted.  It's appalling that so many men and women without honor are rising to positions of consequence; it's downright mystifying that having shown their true colors they are rewarded for their disgrace with another opportunity to be publicly disgraceful.

It's tempting to think that the virtue of leadership has been all but eradicated.  What has happened to honor?  What has happened to our appetite for it? What about integrity?  What of self-control, decency, respect, graciousness, humility, or honesty?  It's a drowsy, lazy and disinterested electorate that does not require virtue and good character from its officials.

Oodles of our public servants routinely cheat, lie, and steal to their hearts' content.  They break their private and public vows again and again.  They make excuses and justify and hold a press conference to perform a tearful apology and then cheat, lie and steal some more.  They have no honor.

It's not perfection I'm looking for, and certainly not a savior.  I have a Savior.  I'm simply longing for a genuine leader.  Someone who will remember who works for whom here.  Remember Barbara Boxer's rude display earlier this year when a senior military officer had the decency to call her "Ma'am" and she dressed him down like he was a snotty adolescent?  "Call me Senator -- I've worked so hard for that title," she whined.  Boxer desperately needs reminding that if indeed she has worked hard, it's supposed to have been for the people, not to get herself a title.  She's a public servant, not the Queen of Sheba.  (And if military protocol is so offensive to her, by all means we should make sure she's never subjected to it again.)

I'm longing for a leader who doesn't explain away his own failures by intimating the masses are just too stupid to understand what he's trying to do for us.  The condescension coming from President Obama toward Americans is unbelievable.  Those who don't agree with him and aren't thrilled with his policies and plans are just "not thinking straight."  Anyone not voting for Democrats next week is accused of being "scared" and somehow giving in to fear instead of facts. 

He goes on the radio and makes a pitch to African-Americans to get out and vote for Democrats, implying they may not understand the importance of this election.  "Everybody in the barbershops, the beauty shops, and at work - everybody's got to understand: This is a huge election; if we turn out in strong numbers, then we will do fine. If we do not, if we are depressed and decide, 'well, you know, Barack's not running right now, so I'm just going to stay home,' then I'm going to have my hands full up here on Capitol Hill."

Naturally, it's all about him.  Isn't it just a tad insulting that the President assumes the only reason African-Americans will get out and vote is to support him?  And "we'll" be just fine as long as Democrats are re-elected?  Who's "we?"

The snobbery continued this week when he said that if Republicans wish to come along for the economic recovery ride, "they gotta sit in back." 

He continues to insist the reason Americans aren't skipping with glee over the new health care law is that we still don't understand it; we either didn't listen or he didn't talk about it enough or didn't use small enough words for the peasants to comprehend.  (Well, there may be a grain of truth to that - Nancy Pelosi herself said the bill had to be passed in order to find out what was in it.)

Again and again, this President shows his arrogance and his contempt for those who aren't falling in line with his agenda.  It seems in his mind it just can't be possible that we have seen him clearly, heard him clearly, understood him clearly and rejected all of it soundly!

Where are the leaders who are willing to place themselves under the same laws and penalties they wish to inflict on us?  If the Obama/Pelosi/Reid Health Care Extravaganza is so fabulous and benevolent, why isn't everyone on Capitol Hill joining in the party?  They grouse at the mere suggestion that those who write the law should be subject to the law.  No. the peasant citizenry must applaud the Royals new prescription even as the Royals refuse their own medicine.

This year we've seen ordinary Americans assert their right to question and criticize their government officials, doing it peacefully and legally and yet those citizens are regularly caricatured by this arrogant administration as racist, bigoted, dim-witted crazies who are a dangerous threat to the country.  Since when is protesting over-taxation and too much government interference a sign of being unhinged?  I seem to remember another group of citizens who got tired of being taxed to death by an overbearing government.George, Tom, Sam, John, Ben, Richard, Stephen, Charles, etc.  They pledged to each other, "our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

My, how things have changed.  It seems the only things sacred today are "tolerance" (meaning everything must be tolerated except the belief that some things are immoral and just plain wrong), political correctness (we mustn't call something what it actually is), "choice" (legal child extermination) and the right to demean Christianity, especially Catholicism.

Give me a man who would rather die than behave dishonorably.  Give me a woman who will not degrade herself or spill her own child's blood.  Give me a man who is faithful to his wife and family.  Give me a woman who prizes true femininity.  Give me a leader who elevates our discourse with his speech.  Give me a leader who inspires by virtue of his character and actions.

I'll take a man who's made a mistake, acknowledged it honestly, taken responsibility, and worked to correct it any day over one who passes the blame, covers it up or tries to rewrite history.  I'll take a man who has failed once or twice over a pompous prince.

Give me a leader who serves.  Give me a leader whose strength is his humility and integrity; whose gift is her savvy and wisdom and grace.

Such men and women will be the reward of the citizens who diligently seek them, support them, demand them, and frankly, become them.  How long will we punish ourselves with tyrants, thieves and scoundrels?  I still believe there are men and women with honor out there and they could be our elected leaders.  (I've made my choice for our 45th President!)  The question is, will we choose them?

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Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, a proud Army wife and mother of four precious children (one in Heaven).  She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.  She is also a serious chocoholic.  Visit her at My Chocolate Heart.

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