The Death of Dignity

After Tuesday’s final batch of primaries, the political lines for November have been drawn. The stage is set for the next two months of political wrangling, stump speeches, campaign stops, kissing babies and the occasional 15 second sound bite foul-up that will serve as fodder for late-night TV.

But, there was more. This 2010 primary season signaled the end of something that has been dying a slow, painful death as each political scandal and contested congressional race became one for the history books. From Charlie Crist, Lisa Murkowski, & most recently Mike Castle, the actions of these elected officials have dealt the deathblow. Dignity is dead.

If you want to understand the American founding and the principles that helped shape & mold the American mind and soul, there are two sources that explain it better than any others: The Federalist Papers & Alexis De Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Specifically, Tocqueville argues that the American experiment he witnessed in the 1830s was unique and thrived because of the common set of virtues, integrity, and religiosity that existed in and manifested itself in the early Americans. These values still exist today, but they are few and far between, especially when it comes to our elected officials.

Take Florida governor Charlie Crist for example. He was getting pummeled in the polls, down 30 at some points to Marco Rubio. As the Republican primary grew closer, he was adamant that he wasn’t going to drop out of the race regardless of outcome, knowing full well (or maybe not) that Floridian voters simply were not going to put up with another RINO in the Senate who takes stimulus money from Barack Obama and was seen at times with the President acting like old friends. However, Crist, being the sore loser that he is, switched parties, thinking that he, not the voters, truly understood what Florida wants in a United States senator. When did our elected officials, individuals that are supposed to be held at a higher standard and be able to make the tough decisions for us, become so incredibly petty and shallow?

Murkowski is another one. After losing the Republican primary to conservative young gun Joe Miller, Murkowski is weighing to pull a Charlie and run as an independent come November. Even the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hopes she doesn’t. Remarkable. You say to yourself, Hey, I lost the race fair and square, but I’m going to switch parties and run as an “independent” because I don’t like the outcome. It’s like the sandbox at the local playground and Murkowski is upset because Miller knocked down her sandcastle.

And then two days ago in one of the most divisive primaries in recent memory, the voters in Delaware took to the polls and ousted RINO incumbent Mike Castle, in favor of Tea Party-supported Christine O’Donnell. I won’t call in to question the decision by the Delaware voters, but I will call in to question the classless way Mike Castle has handled the aftermath, saying that he isn’t “comfortable” supporting her and won’t endorse her in November. A word to the wise for sore losers in primaries: There is an endgame here. To defeat Barack Obama’s congressional cronies and ultimately take the momentum in to 2012 and defeat him, retake the White House and get the country back on track. Why can’t Castle see that? Is he too blinded by his own personal legacy? The people of Delaware spoke. You work for them.

The American political system right now needs to be more than just winning and losing. It’s about civility. It’s about integrity. It’s about virtue. It’s about holding our representatives to a higher standard than anyone else because it’s our job as citizens in our representative democracy. Here’s to Christine O’Donnell, Marco Rubio and Joe Miller and the countless other conservatives who, not only must restore fiscal responsibility, strong national defense and American Exceptionalism to this nation, but must restore dignity, virtue and integrity to the American polis.