As a concept, integrity is consistency of principles, expectations, and outcomes, and in ethics, it is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness of one’s actions. In nearly all circumstances, integrity can easily be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy in that it regards internal consistency as a valuable virtue. Any nation on Earth should consider a leader who exhibits integrity a valued commodity, and for the past three years and ten months, America’s President has exemplified integrity in serving all the people regardless of race, religion, socio-economic status, or sexual preference. Conversely, the Republican candidate for president exhibits all the hypocrisy and anti-American values his party demands of its representatives, and promises, if elected, to take the country back to Bush-era policies his party fought to preserve since Inauguration night 2009.
Over the course of eight years of Republican rule, they embroiled the nation in two unnecessary and unfunded wars, gave the wealthiest one-percent of Americans unfunded tax cuts, and squandered a budget surplus on oil subsidies and corporate entitlements. Their economic malfeasance and deregulation sent the world economy to the brink of collapse, and left President Obama with an economy that was hemorrhaging over 800,000 jobs a month when he took office. To show their displeasure at the nation for electing an African American President, they met on inauguration night to plot their economic recovery obstruction to keep the nation in the throes of deep recession they worked 8 years to accomplish, and keep millions of Americans unemployed and struggling to survive in the Bush-Republican economy.
As the economy reeled with no hope of recovery, President Obama and Democrats passed an economic stimulus that reduced taxes and created millions of jobs, bailed out and saved the American automobile industry, and passed banking reforms to prevent a repeat of the Bush-Republican economic disaster the world still suffers from while Republicans fought tooth and nail to perpetuate America’s recession. All the while, President Obama maintained his integrity and pursued an agenda that helped businesses, workers, and struggling Americans provide their families with food and shelter as Republicans sat on their hands, drew Congressional salaries, and voted no to keep the country mired in the economic morass it took them eight long years to create.
In an epic display of compassion and executive acumen, President Obama marshaled support from the insurance industry and healthcare professionals to pass historic healthcare reform to provide affordable insurance coverage to tens-of-millions of Americans, and correct decades of insurance industry malfeasance that robbed policyholders of their premiums while denying them health care services. Throughout the healthcare reform debate, Republicans lied, misinformed, and fear mongered to prevent passage of the Affordable Care Act with accusations it was government takeover of healthcare, socialism, and medical care rationed by death panels. Republicans even proffered that healthcare was a privilege reserved for those fortunate enough to maintain employment during the economic meltdown they created and promise to return to if Americans support them at the polls today.
The decision voters make today is whether to return to Republican policies that sent America to the edge of financial collapse, or continue moving forward with recovery and growth. The past six months have given the people a glimpse into Republican goal of returning to Bush policies that nearly destroyed the economy and complete their push toward theocratic plutocracy with total disregard for 98% of the population. President Obama has displayed leadership Americans demand from a President who, despite overwhelming obstruction from the GOP, has never taken his eye off his goal of elevating all Americans despite divisive policies inherent in Republican politics. A lesser man would have wilted under Congressional Republican pressure to portray him as a foreigner, socialist, and un-American despot, and still, he never lashed out at the egregious disrespect Republicans have shown him from his first day in office.
What is most admirable about President Obama is that despite Republicans holding the full faith and credit of the United States hostage, causing a first-ever credit downgrade, attempting to destroy social safety nets, and perpetual obstructionism, he maintained his dignity and worked to serve the entire population. This African American President epitomizes integrity of purpose and love for his country while recalcitrant Republicans have sought to destroy (under the guise of religious liberty) decades of struggle to ensure every American enjoys equal rights guaranteed in the Constitution. He is the polar opposite of the Republican standard bearer, Willard Romney, who lacks integrity and morality his party eschews as weakness, and considers lies and deceit in the pursuit of profit and power a valuable asset that most Americans find repulsive. But that is the 2012 Republican Party; a corrupt, anti-American, anti-government assembly of racists, religious extremists, and greedy savages devoid of regard for Americans.
Where Republicans represent all that is wrong with humanity, Barack Obama stands apart with compassion, morality, and patriotism Republicans like Romney are ill-equipped to comprehend. Their contempt for Americans is despicable, and when one sees fellow Americans assaulted by the likes of Romney and his party, a natural instinct is to lash out at monumental outrages against women, gays, minorities, and the poor, and this column has spent no small amount of time and energy raging at immeasurable atrocities targeting American citizens. However, it is sad that anger and despair prevented a thorough accounting of the great example this President sets for all Americans to follow, and for that I am remiss. Barack Obama would not have made that mistake, and it is why he remains the only choice in today’s election and why his integrity, ethics, and values are the standard all Americans should aspire to. A vote for President Obama is a vote against racism, bigotry, misogyny, and religious extremism, and it is not a liberal expression, but a manifestation of integrity exemplified by our President who re-introduced the concept of citizenship into America’s lexicon that Romney’s Republicans work tirelessly to eliminate with divisive fear mongering and contemptible hatred for my people, my President, and my country.