First, let’s start with the definition of integrity by Merriam-Webster:
in·teg·ri·ty | \ in-ˈte-grə-tē\
1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility
2 : an unimpaired condition : soundness
3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness
I think most of us can agree that these are qualities that all humans should aspire to. We can have integrity and disagree with each other. Our values can differ. As long as we are moral individuals who are not motivated by the desire to harm others, we can certainly have distinct priorities and unique points of view.
When I vote for an individual, first and foremost, I try to gauge their level of integrity. Do they consistently act upon their stated beliefs? Are they predictable? Can they be counted on? If they have made mistakes, have they owned up to them and sincerely tried to repair the damage? Only then do I try to determine if their values align with my own.
I may be looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, but I really do believe that all politicians should vote their conscience rather than simply toeing the party line. What is morally right? What will allow them to look at themselves in the mirror? What is in accordance with the greater good? What is important, not only tomorrow, but in the long term?
These are factors that all politicians must weigh. If only more of them would then act on these factors. Unfortunately, many are more concerned with lining their pockets, or getting reelected, or bowing down to power. Many are motivated by greed rather than integrity, hate rather than generosity, or they are in short-term survival mode. They are afraid. They don’t have confidence in where they stand, so they don’t stand firm.
Having said all that, I’d like to reach across the aisle and give Senator Ben Sasse, from Nebraska, a pat on the back. I’m quite sure I wouldn’t like his voting record. He himself says he’s “one of the most conservative voters in the Senate.” But there’s one thing he has never waivered on: when it comes to Trump, he hasn’t been afraid to say that the emperor has no clothes.
According to this article, Sasse has spoken out against Trump and his family on numerous occasions. He holds Trump responsible for the insurrection on January 6th. He chose not to participate in Trump’s reelection attempts. When Trump lied about the election, he condemned that. And because of that, he faces censure by the Nebraska Republican Party’s State Central Committee.
Think about it. He’s not being censured for inciting violence or promoting conspiracies that can easily be proven wrong. He’s being censured for saying that, based on the facts as he knows them, he does not condone or support the actions of an individual. Whether you agree with him or not, the man has integrity. He’s being honorable.
This censure says more about the party members who are bringing it on than it does about Sasse. They are more interested in party loyalty, despite the consequences. They can’t accept anyone who wavers, despite the former emperor’s blatantly obvious naked state.
Would this group censure Marjorie Taylor Greene if she were a Nebraskan? She has incited people to violence, wished death upon her fellow congressmen, and has supported easily disproven conspiracy theories to the detriment of all. But say what you will, the woman has been loyal to Trump, so she’s alright by the GOP. It’s really quite sick-making when you think about it. But this is where we are now.
Would I vote for Sasse? No. Our values don’t align. I’d only vote for him if the Democrat running against him was a person devoid of integrity. But I think Sasse is a stand-up guy. The two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Don’t censure someone just because you don’t like their stance. Censure them because their stance is provably false and a danger to others. Anything less is a breech of integrity. So who should really be censured in this scenario?
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