Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Courage Of Their Convictions

I still have a great abiding love for our American political process, and for affairs of state in general. It's very easy to be cynical, or even downcast, because so little seems to be trending toward statesmanship, foresight, and courage.

I have always said that if I ever sought office, I am committed to plainly stating what I really believe, by God's help, unconcerned with what honesty would cost. Nuance is often required, in order to fully appreciate all the costs and benefits of one thing or another. Also, when one tries to meaningfully interact with those who disagree, or who might, it shows respect for them, and for legitimate questions they have. Still, I believe that the greatest aid to clarity, to principle, and to learning is to answer a direct question with a direct answer. Let qualifications and the like be appended like notes to the frank reply to a "yes/no" question. How much disappointment would this alleviate? I think a lot.

I realized the day I lost respect for Chuck Hagel. It was not because he and the media styled him a moderate. It was not because I thought he was wrong. It was when he would not own his own words on a subject, because he believed stating them, and even daring to defend his own views, would be unpopular. May I never be afraid to take the heat, if I believe I'm right.

It is true that we must recover an all-embracing ethics in many respects. Almost equally important will be the willingness to make an argument. Those who irrationally despise me won't respond to a logical argument anyway.

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