The following article is an opinion piece and reflects the views of the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia.
By: Ken Herron
The dictionary states that the word INTEGRITY means: Having the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. A person of moral uprightness. A person of integrity will do the right thing when no one is watching and he or she is all alone.
If there was ever a word that we should have to describe ourselves it should be that we have integrity. If someone is going to describe us we would want it said that we will always do the right thing in a reliable way. We should have a strong moral compass that does not waver and that we follow consistently.
We follow many different examples in our lifetime. We begin with our parents. We trust them and believe what they tell us. When we become parents we must also be the leader that has integrity. We follow our teachers in school and we trust them to have integrity and guide us correctly. It is a grave injury to us when one of our teachers breaks their code of conduct, loses their temper, and makes false statements.
The individuals that may affect us the most would be our spiritual leaders in our early lives. Sunday School teachers, counselors, and pastors of churches. We expect integrity from all of these individuals. When any one of these has a personal failure and has their failure publicly known it hurts us.
True relationships depend on the integrity of each of the parties in the relationship. A marriage is the strongest relationship that any of us form. A loss of integrity in a marriage often ends in the dissolving of the marriage. Within a family integrity is one of the characteristics that molds the family unit.
The ultimate demonstration of integrity comes through a person who declares himself or herself to be a follower of Jesus Christ. The Bible is the guide for Christians and a follower of the Bible must be a person of integrity. A statement from one Christian was that he wanted his reputation to be so strong that when a crime took place in his neighborhood that no one would stop at his house to ask any questions.
One of the places we see a lack of integrity is in our political candidates. We hope that any candidate that we support is a man or woman of integrity. A person of integrity will not use deception in order to be elected to an office.
I ran for State Representative on two occasions against the same candidate. I never said or printed a statement that challenged his integrity. In the first election in the last week when a proper response was not possible, my opponent ran a deceptive negative ad that swung the election in his favor. It is factual to state an opponent’s position honestly but his position should not be presented in a twisted fashion to attempt to deceive the voters. I ran for Congress against a candidate that had made some business decisions that reflected badly on him. I stayed with the issues of the campaign and avoided the challenges to his integrity and so did he. I lost all three of the elections but I kept my own integrity and did not challenge the integrity of my opponent. Negative advertising as long as it is accurate and fair should be acceptable.
In Gordon County, Representative John Meadows and Congressman Tom Graves are two elected candidates that have attended the monthly meetings of the Gordon County Republican Party. Recent candidate for State Representative Scott Tidwell attends all of the meetings and functions. Recent candidate Jesse Vaughn has attended some monthly Republican meetings and he was a delegate to the Gordon County Republican Convention in both 2015 and 2017. None of the elected Republican Office holders in the City of Calhoun or Gordon County attends the monthly Republican meetings or pays the annual dues. They also have not attended the semi-annual Republican conventions for the county, the district, or the state. The 2019 Republican Gordon County convention will be held in March.
Elected office holders should be held to a standard of integrity that will not allow them to accept favors that obligate them to vote in a particular fashion. It does not matter if the favor is a campaign contribution or a personal gift. Even a dinner or tickets to an event can be enough to create a feeling of commitment to the contributor. This should not require a rule or a regulation. The integrity of the office holder should be enough to enforce this.
Our politicians should tell us the truth without attempts at deception. When they vote in a particular fashion, they should know why and be able to explain the reasons. Integrity of an individual should be enough to keep wives and husbands faithful to each other. Moral relationships exceed financial honesty in the sight of the American public. Integrity helps individuals not to create more debt than they can pay. Integrity causes individuals to do what they say they will do.