Think About It: A Gift That Keeps On Giving

February 16, 2012

Think About It: A Gift That Keeps On Giving

While the State House deferred a bill last week that might have allowed for lawmakers to accept more gifts from possible influencers, we shouldn't kid ourselves into thinking that lawmakers are still not influenced by lobbyists and campaign contributors. Ethics have to do with moral principles, social values, and professional standards, and those things should not be pliable for anybody, let alone elected officials.

At the same time, to suggest that human beings are not going to be influenced by people and/or industries that come in contact with them based on relationships, past or present, is silly. What we can expect is that our elected officials will make their decisions that are based on what is best for the people of Hawaii, the voters, their constituent base. At the end of the day, we all have to first answer to ourselves first when we make decisions that call our integrity or our ethics into question.  If you can lie and deceive yourself, then obviously you will feel free to do the same to others, and you should not be allowed to serve in public office. The voters will hopefully make that call, and we've seen instances of transgressions and bad judgment costing local politicians over the years… as it should be. No one's perfect, but we do expect something closer to perfection from people in powerful positions, including politicians. They ask for our support and trust, which they must continually earn and then cherish.

In 1989, Spike Lee directed a movie called "Do The Right Thing". You might forget the movie, but just think about the title's simple concept. If you have a hard time knowing what is the right thing and you are an elected official, there are channels for you to check things out, before you might do the wrong thing.  Issues regarding ethics and professional standards are not always black and white, but a little self-assessment and self-reflection by those in power is a good thing, regardless of what bills may be pushed forward related to gifts and ethics. Think about it…

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