President Sandra Duckworth focused on LWV of Hawaii's major issue item in her "Viewpoint" delivery of August 27th.
"Should public officials, whether elected or appointed, be held to high standards of moral and ethical behavior? Yes! We expect our leaders to be the best. Our democratic form of government is predicated upon the concept that free election by the people will produce leadership of higher quality than that achieved by birthright or by force. Our elected and appointed representatives assume an awesome responsibility.
The responsibility to serve as examples of the best our society produces means we must hold them to the highest ethical scrutiny, Consequently, leaders should be judged sternly when they fail. Part of serving as a public official is behaving in a manner that exceeds what is expected of the general citizenry. If they fail in these high, exemplary standards, if they break the law, they have failed in their responsibilities -- in the trust they have asked us to place in their care. They reflect badly on all public officials -- in fact, they reflect badly on all of us.
With few exceptions, our elected representatives set fine examples of leadership and provide good government in which we can all be proud. But part of the problem, of course, it that we, the people, have allowed a few public officials to convince us that we should be understanding when they break the law. Why it is OK for them and not for us -- the average citizen?
Is this right? Is this what we really want from our elected and appointed officials? Are we in an era where ethical standards have lost their importance? Is keeping integrity in government an impossible dream? Think about it -- the quality of our government depends on you, the voter!"