my litmus test for public office

You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love. All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: Love your neighbor as yourself… But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this. Galatians 5:13-14, 22-243

Derek Maul writes and speaks out of Wake Forest, North Carolina

Most writers have a slant. It’s not “bias” so much as where they are, how they read the world around them, where their life experiences have taken them, and the impact of a thousand other variables that influence both their viewpoint and how they process information.

In my own years as a newspaper writer, I was hard to pigeonhole. I always felt good about that. Both conservatives and progressives tried to claim me as their own and I was twice asked to stand for political office by groups with money, influence, and clout – one time by Democrats the other Republicans.

Over the years, however, it is less the politics that move me one way or the other so much as questions of authenticity, integrity, goodness, decency, and character.

Additionally, and I am not sure if this is more a function of advancing years or deepening faith, I have noticed that when I am unsure of how to proceed and I could go one way or the other, I tend to default to the side of grace.

In other words, if I am going to be wrong – and I understand that I am likely wrong as often as I am right – then I am going to be wrong in the direction of grace rather than wrong in favor of judgment.

Run on this platform!

This is my short thought for today: The political scene right now in 2019 is distressing in many ways. So these are the things I would like to see talked about, and celebrated, and practiced in and around our nation’s seat of political power, and in every state capitol from Raleigh to Richmond to Tallahassee to Helena to Austin and beyond.

  • Authenticity,
  • Integrity,
  • Goodness,
  • Decency,
  • Character…
  • Grace.

These have no political leanings and neither party can lay claim to a single attribute. Fact is, both major parties could adopt this platform with equal conviction and the practice would enhance the cause of the American people no end.

Ah, the cause of the general populace! Now that would be effort well-spent. Interestingly, both Republicans and Democrats would see progress in the advancement of what is important to them.

Wow! Win-win-win. Politicians defined by authenticity, integrity, goodness, decency, character, and grace would be more effective advocates of their constituents and – simultaneously – see their own standing advance.

So today, with a long run-up to the elections of 2020, let’s all make it clear that this is what we will require of candidates for office. Authenticity, integrity, goodness, decency, character, and grace.

We have enough “characters” already, thank you very much. What we need now is CHARACTER. And authenticity. And Integrity. And Goodness. And Decency. And – Lord knows – so much grace.

So much grace.


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