Honesty in politics? Do we expect it? Have we come to believe that it’s not possible? My colleague, Eric Nelson, writing for the October 29, 2016 edition of Communities Digital News, alerts us to a pretty good argument for truth-telling: you feel better mentally and physically when you’re honest. It’s Election Day in the USA, a day to exercise your civic duty and get out to vote. No matter how we may view the local or national candidates, Eric helps us to see that our OWN honesty contributes to just government and aboveboard politics. Here’s Eric:
Just before the last presidential election, researchers from the University of Notre Dame figured out that the less people lie, the better they feel, both mentally and physically. They even experience better relationships.
Four years later, as we find ourselves in the midst of yet another election involving candidates who appear to be playing fast and loose with the facts, this study – and its implications for individual and societal health – bears revisiting.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, though, we should remember that lying is by no means exclusive to elected officials. According to Anita Kelly, one of the Notre Dame researchers, “Recent evidence indicates that Americans average about 11 lies per week.” In another study, conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts, 60 percent of those surveyed said they could not make it through a 10-minute conversation without lying at least once.
Politician or not, we have all got our work cut out for us.
For millennia we have been encouraged by prophets and parents alike to cut back on the flimflam. “Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t,’” urged Jesus. “Anything beyond this is from the evil one.”
But that doesn’t mean we have been listening.
If anything, it would appear that in nearly every walk of life, not just politics, dishonesty is on the rise. Either we have convinced ourselves that being consistently honest is too high a standard or that it simply doesn’t matter. The thing is, though, it does. “Honesty is spiritual power,” wrote Mary Baker Eddy in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. “Dishonesty is human weakness, which forfeits divine help….”