As a new election cycle approaches, and the political “silly season” begins to take over the behavior of would-be candidates asking for your vote, let us be reminded to preserve our own sensibilities.
Political incumbents and candidates are to be reminded each election cycle who it is that employs them. They work for us – we do not work for them. Although, it seems once they gain office that principle is forgotten; they either borrow us into staggering debt or spend us into deeper deficits. The only solution they can subsequently imagine is to raise our taxes, taking more money from our pockets to pay for their irresponsibility.
The prefix “honorable” preceding their names and associated with the position to which they are elected, is not to reward them with an unearned title but to remind them what standard of behavior is expected of them by the citizens they were elected to serve.
Honorable means doing what is right even when no one is noticing or can give you credit for being thus. It does not mean to “be honored” or “bowed down to” nor to “be served”. Instead it denotes that one is entrusted with the public good and one is expected to do the “principled” thing.
Personal integrity, as it applies to public office, means to obey the oath of one’s office at all times, under all conditions and in every situation irrespective of whether another course would be politically expedient, self-serving, or to one’s self-advantage. It means to place the public good before personal gain at all times.
Principles, as those apply to political parties, means to adhere to a fixed set of core beliefs that are unchangeable and immune to the whims of the day, the public mood, polls, or propaganda driven opinions. Adherence to core principles precludes one from rendering favors in return for graft or kick-backs or trading votes; core principles do not surrender to the lure of patronage jobs. Core principles do not lead to the engineering of elections so that there is little to no resistance to the election of a party hack; core principles do not lead to the award of multiple minority lines to party hack candidates so that they can literally run unopposed.
As a former nominee for public office in Rockland County for the position of Ramapo Town Supervisor 2007, U.S. Congress, 17th District 2010, and nominated for Rockland County Republican Party Chairman 2012, I deeply understand what happens to candidates who wish to serve with core principles; I understand the price that can be paid for standing on principle by an independent candidate who refuses to deal with the back-room bosses.
Many now know that the FBI, the District Attorney, and the electorate are catching up to the political clean-up efforts many of us have led. We have seen the arrest and conviction of former GOP boss Jay Savino, the plea deals of Legislator Frank Sparaco, and we await the pending dispositions of former Spring Valley Mayor Noraime Jasmin, and the ongoing FBI investigation of Ramapo Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence’s administration. Add to the list of clean-up efforts the unceremonious removal of former New York State Vice Chair and Rockland GOP Chair, Vincent D. Reda.
From my perspective as the current County Chairman and sitting New York State Vice-Chairman of the Latino National Republican Coalition, I know the value of principled members being recruited into multiple GOP Town Committees. It was they who drew others from inside the GOP committee and worked together to remove the entrenched and unprincipled core of party hacks to form a new and strong coalition.
It is no shame to say that the Rockland County GOP Town Committees have a lot of work yet to do in order to refurbish the GOP brand name in Rockland County. They are coming to realize that they must eventually unlearn the bad habits they were taught and voluntarily participated in for two decades if they are to win back the trust their former leadership squandered. It is not hard to figure out that if the current numerous GOP committees continue the past bad practices of their former leaders and teachers, they will likely experience similar outcomes to that of their former political leaders Sparaco, Savino and Reda.
Pre-selected, top-down, hand-picked candidates who do not possess core principled qualities will not earn the support or public endorsement that can earn the trust that motivates citizens to vote, citizens to donate, and citizens to provide support.
You see in the end politics is all about one’s trust-worthiness. To the utter disappointment of Rockland’s citizens, their collective trust was violated all too often and for far too long. Now we must reject the notion of the rubber stamp, the pay to play, the horse trading for favors which were at the core of past committee practices in my own party and I am sure in that of the Democrats. A citizen’s trust is way too valuable to be traded and bartered away so cheaply.
So citizens of Rockland, in this election year take the time to assess each candidate on a scale that ranks their trustworthiness, their core principles, their personal integrity, their sense of honor, and their transparency. Dismiss the candidate of tele-genetics or familial pedigree. If any candidate, irrespective of party affiliation, betrays your trust and your principles for their political gain, they have not even begun to earn your vote. Should they choose honor over title they will be known to you by their deeds and by the political scars they bear for having fought for the things you cherish.
“You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies” ~ Oscar Wilde