^ “I will not take the low road to the highest office” — John Kasich. A good principle to commit to

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We rightly condemn the Trump campaign for its cascade of lies, but lies are not his monopoly. Almost every super-PAC ad that I have seen, or read on twitter, tells lies. Lying about one’s opponent in an election seems almost an addiction. It’s one that we do not share.

It does no good to manipulate an election by lying. Winning by lying is to acquire no legitimacy at all. Because so many “consultants” authorize it — even encourage it — lying has become almost the norm. Ergo, the norm has no legitimacy.

That’s why those who support Trump because he attacks the basic legitimacy of our government have a point. A good point.

It’s hardly a good enough point to have us declare Trump anything but anathema. He is unthinkable. But his attack on the way we do our politics isn’t unthinkable at all. The major reason why his despicable lies are believed is because lying is so universal in our political conversation these days.

I just finished consulting to a campaign in which falsehood, or distortion, about our opponent was a ready temptation. We did not give in. We shunned the temptation. Yes, my candidate lost; but he did not lose the people’s respect, which is far more important personally and politically. Having taken the high road, my candidate has a future.

Trolls, too, offer nothing good to any conversation. Ignore them; block them. They’ll eventually go away, just as a buzzard gores away when there’s no carcass to beak upon.

All of which leads me to the following declaration :

1.Do not lie in campaigns, and do not fall for other’s lies.

2.If both candidates lie, choose the lesser liar (other things being equal)

3.Never express bigotry in a campaign. Never disparage an ethnic group, a social group or a nationality, or a sexual orientation, or a religion. Condemn anyone who does any of these.

4.Know, and be proud, that progress will advene in America, and that its enemies will fail.

5.Be a soldier of that advention, as much as you can.

6.Campaigns are seldom won on issues or platforms. They are won by temperament, character, competence, reliability.

7.Do not cast a protest vote. It has no shelf life.

8.In your won life, follow the rule of Rabbi Hillel, who famous told the student who asked him to “teach me the entire law and Torah¬†while I stand on one leg,” “whatever is hurtful to you, do not do to your fellow man. That is the entire law and Torah; the rest is commentary.”

9.Do not confuse religion with truth. Truth is seldom ours to know. as the divorce lawyer’s famous saying goes, “there’s three sides to every question. His, hers, and the truth.”

10.Learn a subject before mouthing off about it. Economics, history, politics are awesomely complex subjects. Stand in awe of them rather than trample them by talking shit.

11.Life is a paradox. We see this with sex. Sex is a mystery beyond all comprehension. Guidelines for handling it we can establish, we caution, but rules — never.

12.Why does evil exist in the world ? Nobody has given a likelier answer than Augustine’s : “men do wrong because they want to.”

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere


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