COLUMN: A Malat Musing: Finding the Common Good

Created: 10/26/2012 10:42 AM KSTP.com By: Phil Malat

Elections can be troubling.

The motivations of the electorate in their decision making process can be based on factors that are void of the general welfare and common good of the nation. 

Some make their decision based on fear of the opposition, sometimes outright hatred of the opposition.

Others base their decision solely on political party indoctrination. 

Then there are those one issue voters who are seemingly unaware of any possible negative ramifications to our country from what will best benefit them.  

How do we avoid the entrapment of all this clutter to cast a truly civic minded vote? The answer was provided by a wise high school civics teacher.

Brother (Christian Brother) Michael Brian emphasized there is no substitute for the truth and the truth may not always be in your own self interest. You must be stubbornly diligent in creating a thirst for only the truth. The truth you seek must be based on irrefutable factual information. You must guard against as Rudyard Kipling wrote; “the truth…twisted by knaves to set a trap for fools.”  Today’s media are riddled with spin which is nothing more than deceit cloaked as the truth.

The astute teacher further added that we must all be equally committed to exposing ALL lies and deceit as well as ALL forms of fear and hatred promulgated on both sides of the political spectrum.

Brother Michael concluded by saying this is hard work which, unfortunately, way too few are willing to perform. Then the words that still resonate to this day; “No one ever said democracy was easy.  Nothing worthwhile ever is.”

Polarization has reached epic levels in America. This intransigence requires we turn away from an aggressive search for the truth and abandon our civic responsibility to the collective general welfare of the nation. If we continue to foster this mindset, we will get ever closer to the day when the Rod Blagojevichs of this country will occupy the oval office.  

William F. Buckley Jr. summarized it beautifully when he wrote; “Truth is a demure lady, much too ladylike to knock you on your head and drag you to her cave.  She is there, but people must want her, and seek her out.”

Phil Malat is a columnist for KSTP.com.