In today’s climate, people are afraid to talk about virtue because it makes them sound as though they are some sort of religious zealot. Thus, virtue is viewed as a quaint, old fashioned notion of a by-gone era that has no real meaning in today’s sophisticated, more highly mature culture.
But virtue is just another word for integrity, which is another way of describing honesty. So what we are talking about when we speak of virtue is being honest. Of course, requiring honesty from a politician can sometimes be like showing a cross to a vampire – they run in fear of it.
To get elected, all politicians must tell their constituents what they want to hear. Although that can easily be done if what the politician truly and sincerely believes is what the people he speaks to also truly and sincerely believe. But, with so many people having so many different ideas, most politicians say what they think they must to get the votes they need in order to win. And then, when they take office, they tell themselves that everyone knows they can’t keep the promises they made during the campaign so they don’t. Either that or they make excuses for why they just can’t seem to deliver on their promises.
But, a person with integrity is more than just honest. They are someone who can be trusted at all times, in all places, and with all responsibility. They are someone whose word is their bond and whose handshake is as good as any legal contract. They are someone whom you could trust with your life.
On the other hand, a person with little or no integrity can’t be trusted anytime, anyplace, or with any responsibility. Their word means nothing and they shake hands with their fingers crossed. They are someone who will smile at your face and then stab you in the back.
Since when did honesty and trustworthiness go out of style? If it ever does there is nothing that can save us from destroying ourselves. That’s why the Tea Party expects virtue from those whom they elect to represent us.