Dignity, honor, and respect are not historical values that have outlived their usefulness, but everpresent qualities which maintain the trust that must exist between government and those governed.
Desecration — When an ideal is held in sacred trust as participating in a higher moral or spiritual value, and reasons are given for departing from that ideal or trust and for treating it as if it were not a matter of great importance to maintain it, but rather a matter of convenience — convenience in terms of whether it fits in with the common outlook or with one’s personal needs. This makes of the sacred something less than sacred, and simultaneously makes it seem of little consequence that this diminishment is happening.
Such is the energy of desecration.
It is rampant now within the presidential election run-up. It is evident in the ways of speaking and acting of candidates and in the lack of dignity that is present throughout. It is rampant in the lack of dignity and honor given to high public office, and the necessity for maintaining those qualities in those who would hold that office.
The nobility of high public office has been handed down to us not only by the Founding Fathers of our Constitution, but also by the blood that has been shed by those who sought liberty, even at the expense of their own lives.
We do not act surprised. We have become accustomed to it. We begin to not notice that something that was held in sacred trust is missing.
In place of dignity we witness combativeness and personal aggrandizement. In place of humility we witness aggression. Though candidates differ with respect to the degree in which this energy is manifested, some having little and others a great deal, there is, among all, a valuing of aggressiveness rather than honor, of winning rather than maintaining one’s own integrity, of fierceness rather than kindness. It may even have become impossible for us to consider kindness to be a virtue among political leaders or would-be leaders. It may be that respect and tolerance, gentleness and non-aggression have all come to be seen as weakness.
The nobility of high public office has been handed down to us not only by the Founding Fathers of our Constitution, but also by the blood that has been shed by those who sought liberty, even at the expense of their own lives — those whose lives were given to the Declaration which gave voice to the motives that birthed a nation. These are the words with which the Declaration of Independence ends:
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
We who follow centuries later are also called to pledge ourselves and our sacred honor to maintain the high ideals upon which this country was founded. What this means in today’s reiteration and translation is that the founding ideals of this nation must matter to us. The honor of government office must be upheld by those who hold it and those who seek it. Dignity, honor, and respect are not historical values that have outlived their usefulness, but everpresent qualities which maintain the trust that must exist between government and those governed. We cannot afford to relinquish these values and must seek them in those who claim to seek from us support for their aspirations. As we do this, as we do not permit the energy of desecration to sweep through us without our notice, we raise the level of debate in this country and establish a new standard for what winning an election means, a standard that is not based on combat and aggression, but on truth, honor, worthiness, and dignity.