We Have a Right to Expect Honesty and Common Decency

H. L. Mencken was a journalist, scholar, satirist, and provocateur. His cynicism toward institutional religion and many cultural norms was a put-off to many. Yet, he exposed much hypocrisy and often bore witness to truth in biting sarcasm.

Here is an example of Mencken’s biting critique of politicians: “It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.”

Or this one:  “A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.”

Common sense, common honesty, and common decency! Don’t we have the right to expect these from our leaders?

Or, is our collective character so compromised that we simply get the leaders we deserve? 

I fear that the coarseness of our public discourse, widespread acceptance of dishonesty, normalization of crudeness, endorsement of cruelty, and callousness toward the suffering of others are symptomatic of our blighted collective character.

Let’s hold on to a vision and expectation of personal and collective honesty and common decency! And, let’s demand and practice integrity and compassion from ourselves and those we select as leaders.





8 thoughts on “We Have a Right to Expect Honesty and Common Decency

  1. Thank you Bishop Carder for your integrity and honesty. There are leaders in our country that inspire my own goodness and inspire me to strive to be my best self. Here are a few books I have recently read that renew my hope in our country: Becoming by Michelle Obama; Lead From The Outside by Stacy Abrams; The Second Mountain, The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks. And, The Third Reconstruction, How a Moral Movement is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear by The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber l l


      • I, too, appreciate John Meacham books. I have recently found Parker Palmer’s Healing the Heart of Democracy most insightful.


  2. Thank you, Bishop Carder. Reminds me of something Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high.” You are shedding the light we need to conquer the darkness among us.


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