The Fairness pledge


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The presentation introduces a simple pledge that can be taken by anyone who either works in politics professionally or considers themselves a political activist. It is designed to be the first part of a larger political canon or code of ethics designed to transform American politics - restoring its credibility and civility.

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The Fairness pledge

  1. 2. An Introduction If there is one thing most Americans can agree upon it is their nearly universal disgust now with the political process and politicians in general. Whenever we think things cannot sink any lower – they do. Our political process no longer resembles or exhibits the characteristics of intelligent, civilized discourse. Our political dialog has degenerated into shouting matches and insults and into exchanges of moronic slogans with little or no meaning behind them. People are sick of Politics because the political profession has abandoned basic rules of behavior and abandoned Fairness – it’s time that these we’re re-introduced.
  2. 3. What is The Fairness Pledge ? The Fairness Pledge is the first step towards defining and implementing a canon or code of ethics for political practice. The pledge outlines basic expectations and rules of behavior designed to make politics civil once again. The Fairness Pledge, like the larger code of ethics, would be voluntary. No one would be forced to take it – however those not agreeing to simple rules of civilized behavior ought to explain why such rules don’t apply to them. Other professions abide by such oaths and many politicians take oaths of office once elected or appointed – yet why should they wait until after they’ve gained office to agree to honest conduct? Isn’t competition for the office just as important in demonstrating character?
  3. 4. Everyone has a choice when it comes to ethics – yet for the public it is hard to judge every political activist or politician separately – there ought to be a standard for measuring ethical behavior.
  4. 5. The Pledge – Part 1 I hereby pledge that I will not engage in false accusations of opponents or help to produce or otherwise utilize blatantly negative advertisements. The merits of one’s positions should stand for themselves – politicians or activists should never resort to lying and distortion to further their cause. That is a disservice to the public and cannot be tolerated any more. The culture of mean-spirited attack politics and dirty tricks needs to end, now.
  5. 6. The Pledge – Part 2 I hereby pledge that I will behave according to the highest standards of civil discourse in any public gathering, debate, interview or other venue. I will not walk out, avoid answering questions, yell, insult opponents or questioners. Behavior is the best indicator of character. The public deserves to know what type of leader they will be getting. There can and always will be honest differences of opinion and the public also deserves to see what those are. What the public does not deserve is to see grown men and women behaving like schoolyard bullies or simpletons.
  6. 7. The Pledge – Part 3 I hereby pledge that I will disclose my policy agenda during elections or campaigns and not surprise voters as to my true intent only after being elected. It’s ok to invoke philosophy and talk about rhetoric in the general sense – but politicians who use that high level talk to mask very specific agendas are being unfair to the voters who are not given the chance to approve or disapprove those policies. From this point forward – politicians need to disclose their intent and allow the public to make intelligent, informed decisions about it.
  7. 8. We cannot force someone to be ethical if they choose not to be – however we certainly have the right to clearly identify those who choose to disregard ethical behavior.