When I was a child my father told me, “It doesn’t matter what you become in life.  The important thing is that you are a good man.”  It was as if he had branded this on my brain. He didn’t tell me this once but twice.  This was so impacting to me that I vividly remember both instances. 

 

Forty five years later I discovered that he was not the originator of these words.  While researching my first book I found a letter from my grand father addressed to a man that was asking for help for a friend.  My grandfather had been the chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Central Committee and had held various elected offices.  To paraphrase what his response to his friend was, he stated that ,”The man you requested  assistance for could have campaigned against me and he could be a staunch Republican and this doesn’t matter.  What is important is that he is a good man and if you tell me he is, I will help him”. This letter was dated the early 1930s.

 

When I left the Navy and re-entered NLU, my first summer class was taught by the founder of theSchoolofConstructions.  The first day of class he handed a very small slip of paper to the students in the class.  Mimeographed on the slips were the words, “Integrity.  Outspoken Honesty.  His actions were above reproach”.  Mr. Potts, our professor, told us, “Memorize this verbatim.  It will be on your first exam and if you take anything away from this class let it be this.”

 

Sadly, integrity is losing its’ meaning as a norm for our society and instead of understanding this as a way of life we have it taught to us in college courses or be a part of various professional certification requirements.  This has perpetuated into politics and unfortunately all politicians are looked at as possessing little or no integrity. The confidence in our congress is at the lowest level since the beginning of our country.  There are many politicians that have the utmost integrity in their actions and truly want to do the best for the populace that they represent.  Then there are the elected officials that are more interested in their own good and feel empowered to use the position for their own benefit and these are the individuals that give such a negative view of our elected.  This is the conditionLouisianawas in during the early 1900s when the Ole Regulars inNew Orleanswere in power.  Their own interest was the power they sought and possessed.   This came to an abrupt ending in the 1928 elections and theLouisianalaboring class came to the fore front of politics.

 

Integrity in society begins at home and must be perpetuated through out the educational and sporting life of a child.  The integrity of our elected officials is truly in the hands of our electoral process.  The one thing that makes every man equal in a Democratic Society  is the concept of one man, one vote.  When a person closes that curtain of the voting booth, that person is free to vote his conscience and thus casts a vote for the person he feels will provide the leadership required to adequately represent his constituents..  The quality of the person we elect to our political positions should, in addition to other attributes, be viewed as “Is he a good man”.

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