Integrity is the virtue of acting according to one's beliefs and values. While one's stated beliefs and convictions are certainly important, one's actions do speak louder than words. One's actions demonstrate the strength and depth of those convictions.
So it is interesting that two mayoral candidates agreed to appear at a forum last week, but didn't show up. (HT: Pondering Penguin via blogHouston) Nor did they call or send flowers. Both Gene Locke-step and Peter Brown-nose failed to honor their commitment. As the Pondering Penguin put it:
If voters can not count on a candidate to show up for a forum as previously agreed to, what does that say? It says that candidate is not true to his word and not to be trusted. It says they do not surround themselves with professional acting staffers. It says we are not important, that they believe they will win an election without the ordinary voter. It is incredibly arrogant and unprofessional.At this point in time, the candidates are interviewing for a job. If they can't be on their best behavior now--before they have the job--what will they do once elected? If they can't honor a simple commitment to appear at a forum, why should we believe that they will honor their campaign promises? The fact is, we should have no such expectation.
Justice is the virtue of judging men by rational principles. A man who cannot honor his commitments is not worthy of holding the office of Mayor of Houston. That is my judgment.
When Modern "Art" Meets Freedom
The Contemporary Arts Museum (no link is provided as a matter of principle) has been hosting an exhibit titled No Zoning: Artists Engage Houston. The CAM web site tells us:
Participants contributing new projects include The Art Guys (Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing), who will present a performance that involves marrying a tree...Since art is a selective recreation of reality according to one's metaphysical value-judgments, what does this "project" tell us about the "artists"? A lot. But since I try to limit my profanity in this blog, I will also have to limit my comments.
The Guys (I won't use their middle name, because it isn't appropriate) are making a mockery of one of life's most joyous institutions--marriage. Romantic love--which marriage should be based upon--is not an experience driven by emotion, but an expression of one's highest rational values. To mock marriage is to mock values as such.
And consider the context in which this mockery occurs--an exhibit supposedly "celebrating" Houston's relative freedom in land-use. To the trash putting on this exhibit, freedom means doing anything one "feels like", including marrying a freaking tree. That gives an entirely new meaning to "tree hugger".
Straddling the Fence
A recent mayoral debate focused on the city's mobility. The Chronicle's article on the debate makes an interesting comment in regard to Metro's rail plans:
The incoming mayor will have to make sure construction does not disrupt neighborhoods too much and help the agency decide what to do next.
The leading candidates--Brown, Parker, and Locke--all favor light rail. They also favor "protecting" neighborhoods by imposing restrictions on development, such as the Ashby High Rise. The Chronicle inadvertently points out the conflict between these stated goals.
Light rail will disrupt neighborhoods. And a minimum, it requires Metro to seize private property to build its lines and stations. The mayoral candidates have no problem disrupting neighborhoods when government is doing the disrupting, but are vehemently opposed when a private company attempts to do something considered disruptive.
This is the type of contradictory stance that is typical of politicians. Having abandoned the principle of individual rights (whose protection is the only proper purpose of government), they stand on both sides of fence. They try to solve each problem, whether real or perceived, in complete isolation from any other issue. They think that their proposals are the light at the end of the tunnel. What they don't realize is that that light is from an oncoming train.