January 18, 2006
Some lawmakers show poor integrity skills
U.S. senators' vicious verbal attacks on Supreme Court
candidates - including accusations of racism and sexism
- fly in the face of both civility and integrity. Can
these inquisitions be stopped?
Destructive behavior will continue, maybe even worsen,
until those who are behaving inappropriately are tossed
out of office. For some number of years now, assessing
the capabilities and the character of those willing to
assume high office has turned into jousting matches between
and among partisan politicians. Their behaviors are akin
to rival gang leaders demonstrating just how much of
the territory they control and the consequences for those
who attempt to invade their turf. Common sense, communication
and civility are gone. Self-serving questions and innuendo
are designed to humiliate not only candidates, but, by
association, those who have nominated them. This life-and-death,
scorched-earth approach injects so much anger and resentment
into the process that important relationships are marred
for a long time, if not forever. Congress has now brought "feuding" center
stage. Bickering attracts attention. It is getting worse
and our society is being poisoned by it.
Unfortunately, abrasive interrogation behaviors are
being tolerated, even embraced. Senators' actions in
the vetting process are being televised live, capturing
the reactions of those being scrutinized along with members
of their families. Suddenly, responsible inquiry turns
into a public ambush, complete with character assassination.
What is our society allowing to happen, not only to the
candidates themselves, but also to their spouses and
family members? How far must these public whippings be
allowed to go before few will even offer their services?
Does seeking the truth have to come at the expense of
dignity and integrity? No.
What prevents senators and representatives from behaving
appropriately? Ego, power and money! Getting back and
getting even were childish responses that our parents
taught us were wrong. Those who have power, want more
power, and are in position to "get back" at
old or new adversaries are sabotaging the society they
were elected to defend.
Cruel behavior can be stopped at the ballot box. Pay attention
to these important information-gathering proceedings, noting
who behaves how. Then vote for integrity and decency.