Integrity Matters
January 18, 2006

Some lawmakers show poor integrity skills

Question: (E-224)

Dear Jim:

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.

Home Page | About Us | Ask Bracher | Services | Resources | Contact Us

©Bracher Center for Integrity in Leadership. All Rights Reserved.
1400 Munras Avenue ~ Monterey, California 93940