BY State Rep. Raul Torres
Let me first state that it is crucial that we first acknowledge all that is right and good with our American government and economy. For now we have the world’s best system of government, best healthcare, best military, best roads and highways, best minds, best industry innovators, best business leaders, the best economy, and we are the most charitable people in the entire world. Although America as a whole is good, there are one thing that is greatly missing in America. There is a lack of “righteousness” in American politics. According to Dictionary.com the word “righteousness” means,
“characterized by uprightness or morality: a righteous observance of the law; morally right or justifiable: righteous indignation; acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous.
The lack of righteousness can be clearly seen in the great amount of mistrust that exists between those who work in government, our elected leaders, our many institutions and the people of America. According to a article in the Washington’s Blog website titled, Lack of Trust – Caused by Institutional Corruption – Is Killing the Economy, top economists have been saying for a long time that trust is necessary for a stable economy, and that prosecuting the criminals is necessary to restore trust. In another test of trust, just 14 percent of respondents in a 2011 Gallup Poll said that the federal government could be trusted. This wide lack of trust is arguably the main reason we are stuck in an economic crisis.
One of the main causes for this lack of trust is the perceived notion that politicians are corrupt, bought and paid for by special interest groups. For example, many of the people that I have had an opportunity to visit with during my campaign trips to Hidalgo County and in Nueces County have expressed to me that they believe that there is some form of political corruption going in their district.
To be fair let me say that not all politicians are viewed to be corrupt. Nevertheless, the attitudes that prevail in South Texas can be found in other states and communities all over America. Some say this is due to the lack of political and election fraud prosecution by District Attorneys. Others say it is the special “behind the door” deals that later come to light in some public scandal. Still others say it is the lack of transparency from the school house to the White House.
James Garfield, the 20th President of the United States, who was assassinated early in his Presidency once said,
“The people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature.”
This pretty well says it all. President Garfield is telling us that Congress is corrupt because we, the people, do not demand that our elected leaders be men and women of righteous character.
We should demand the very best from each and every appointed and elected official at the Federal, state, county and city level and hold them to it. Yet, election after election we allow politicians to make all kinds of promises to us only to allow them to not live up to those promises. Have we become a nation addicted to lies and half-truths? Why do we tolerate politicians to break the law and go unpunished simply because we like them or because they “bring home the pork?”
I believe this is exactly what we have allowed to happen in America for way too many years. If our Congress is failing us it is because we have allowed it. If Congress is corrupt it is because we have let them be corrupt! Why do so many good people in America sit back and allow this to happen? Everyday on the campaign trail I hear people talk about working hard, loving their families and caring for their sick and less fortunate loved ones. These are good and honest people who allow this to happen. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
Nevertheless, in many cases all over America, less than righteous politicians are re-elected year after year. Are we insane? I like to think we are not, but I am reminded of the words of Albert Einstein who said,
“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”
In the Gospel of Matthew 7:15-17 Jesus said,
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.”
These two quotes represent key principles that are as true today as they were when they were first spoken. The fact is that the American people have been fooled into thinking that these principles do not apply today. Somehow we have been sold a false bill of goods. We have been fooled into thinking that a non righteous person can at a later time legislate with righteous principles. What a tragedy this has been to our society.
Nevertheless, I wish to remain optimistic. I believe America’s best days are still in front of us. But in order to get there we must act now and elect leaders who will represent true “righteousness.” We need men and women who wish to be characterized by their upright and moral character and who are not afraid to do the right thing regardless of the risk to their political future.
When you go vote this year you can change America’s future. Remember if you want righteous laws you must first elect the right people. Please choose wisely because not only is our nation’s future at stake so is the future of our children and grandchildren.
Let’s Talk and Together Let’s Move Texas Forward!
If you want to help Rep. Raul Torres, visit his website for more info.