The Decline of Presidential Ethics


America needs integrity and humility in the Oval Office.

Is ethical leadership possible in the politics of our era? Had the question no specific time frame, the answer might be yes, or at least yes and no. But in the 21st century, the idea that we can expect ethical leadership in American politics is to believe that hope triumphs over experience. The purpose of politics is no longer to do what is right for the sake of the public good but to do what is expedient for the sake of the self.

By Kimberly Reed

Ethical transgressions in politics: Are there significant acts of moral and ethical transgressions within the US political landscape that present social and historical significance?  Can voters safeguard the encroachment of political transgressions on the republic by acquiring a sense of what is appropriate and become willing to defend it?

Some thoughts:

Are the wealthy elite defining and shaping public policy based on principles of Reinhold Niebuhr and John Rawls?  I have researched a positive correlation from relational research as it finds connection between Rawlsian social welfare and the defense of capitalism.

In general, people understand they have natural rights, but they are willing to forgo them for the sake social and economic cooperation.

A general understanding that justice, either social or economic is an understanding that what previous generations did for us, now we must do for future generations.

Does direct democracy have secondary benefits in regards to its impact on policy involving morality?

Do political leaders achieve their objectives through advocating by morally questionable methods?

Are the objectives of political leaders to obtain and maintain power by whatever means necessary in order to promote policy down political lines?

In researching Abraham Lincoln’s political views, I found that it is remarkably simplistic to the kinds of ethical quandaries in which politicians find themselves in today.  Politicians today are seen as less forthcoming, deceptive and do not exemplify the equality and positivism that Lincoln was observed to construct about his dealings.  My research in Abraham Lincoln does show that in US history, there was a time that ethics and morality were paramount in decisions made for the Republic for which it still stands.

Can it be that potentially, in whatever the economic climate exists, people learn to sustain themselves despite both the system and their belief system?

Do morality policies exist?  It is suggested that the best way to think about morality policies is to have a single defining characteristic—that they generate conflict of basic values.  It is interesting to consider the fact that morality policies are technically simple and not amenable to compromise and should be thought of as the result of the intrinsic attribute of the policies themselves.

Questions that need answers….more research required.




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