Integrity matters. Personal integrity. Business integrity. Political integrity. And, of course, the integrity of our election process. I never thought I would have to write those words down because I rather optimistically always assumed most people I knew cared about integrity. Whatever happens, the ends do not justify the means. Those are the rules I have always lived by.
Saturday I realized I was wrong in assuming that everyone shared my belief that integrity matters. Saturday I was flat out told by someone I have been friends with since I was 13 that integrity did NOT matter to her. And election integrity did NOT matter to her, not if it meant she could get rid of Trump.
I should probably outline the entire story so you can understand.
Saturday morning I received a text message from a friend. She's a Democrat. Not particularly politically active. She hates Trump, she probably votes. But I doubt she has ever volunteered on a campaign (unless cursing on social media and calling Republicans "retards" qualifies as campaign activity these days). The text message included a picture of dancing cartoon figures and the words: "Pennsylvania has called it. Joe Biden is the next president. Glory Hallelujah!"
Now if you know anything about Pennsylvania politics you probably know Philadelphia has a history of zombie voters. (Basically dead people keep voting for YEARS in some Philly districts.) I'm a partisan. I'm a Republican. If Joe Biden won fair and square then fine... But I am on record as saying it is NEVER good for America when an election comes down to a few ballot boxes in a few metro areas with a history of corruption.
And in Pennsylvania it has come down to Philly. So... maybe not an entirely good outcome if you care about political integrity.
And I do care about integrity. A lot.
My friend has never bothered to ask me my political beliefs. I don't keep my politics a secret. But she isn't particularly interested in my life. And years ago I accepted that reciprocity would never be a part of our relationship. And I guess I was fine with that when I was sixteen. But this isn't about a failure of friendship. This is about a moral failure. A complete and utter moral failure.
I responded to her text with these words, "I actually think it is a really bad day for America when a presidential election comes down to old style Philly ballot box stuffing. Then again... I have standards."
I guess my honesty inspired a TRULY honest response. The complete text of her beliefs are here: "As long as that freak is out of office. I'll take it. Trump has eroded many of my standards. I would have voted for my dog.....The last four years have been bad for America. Integrity can be reinstalled. Four more years of that shitshow would have led to the next Civil War. I'd rather not be shot at."
And that is it... The words of a basic Democrat. Her "standards" are "eroded" she'll "take" any win she can get, clean or not.
In business I won't do business with anyone who proclaims their standards are "eroded." And I won't do business with anyone who thinks integrity is negotiable. Like... we'll break the rules now so we can get the positive end result later? That is not acceptable.
I don't know if this election was dirty. I do know it is NEVER good for America when an election comes down to a few ballot boxes in a few metro areas with a documented history of corruption.
To me integrity matters. Election integrity really matters. It mattered last week and last month. It matters today and tomorrow. If a majority of the legitimate voters in the states necessary to add up to 270 electoral college votes legitimately decided they wanted a Biden-Harris Administration I'll accept it. So be it... I won't knit myself a pink hat and shriek in the streets for four years. I won't whisper death threats over the phone. I won't curse out the political opposition in parking lots. Then again... my standards are NOT ERODED. My standards are eternal. Integrity matters.
If any Republican told me they didn't care about the means... only the results, I would make it my life's mission to drive that person out of the Republican Party. I don't believe in circular firing squads. But I do believe in standards. And I will call out any Republican I know who crosses a line. The thing is... I think hate of Trump has "eroded" the values of some Democrats so much that they won't call out their fellow travelers who think rules are for the other guy. And that is a problem. You need to keep your own house clean. You need to have integrity.
So here is a question to ask yourself:
1) "Do the ends justify the means?"
If you answered yes to that question you have a problem. A big problem. (Actually anyone who has the misfortune of encountering you has a bigger problem. Because you are one of nature's little schnooks.)
Here is another question to ask yourself:
2) Does integrity matter?
If you answered no to that question you have an even bigger problem. And if you are an American citizen and you answered no to that question we all have a problem.
For my part integrity matters more than winning elections. And my standards can not be eroded by some random politician I will probably never meet. Win, lose or draw I believe in America. Then again, I have integrity. I will never compromise my integrity. Can you say the same?
(If you like this, if this speaks to you, please share and share again. Please forward to everyone. And ask the question... one simple question, does integrity matter? Do you know people who think the ends justify the means?)