Honesty is important in many aspects of life. It is a tool that enables understanding in a variety of people. This is important in our diverse society. Honesty is important in order to have good relationships. Also, being an honest person can make you happy and healthier. By leading an honest life, you can more easily fulfill your potential.
Without honesty, how do we know who is telling the truth? What is the point of communicating information if there is no truth in it? How do we know we are electing honest politicians? How do we know what kind of people to believe in if we cannot trust anyone?
I was raised in Billings, Mt and I know that people value honesty. People who are dishonest are always discovered and get what they deserve. Being raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, I learned to be honest and truthful. I've always been aware of my conscience because I was taught honesty was so important from a young age. Although I am no longer a Jehovah’s Witness, I still value the power of honesty and try to lead an honest life and tell people how I feel with care and thought.
When you read the newspaper, there are examples of politicians being dishonest and it is obvious our country does not value lying. For example, many American people believed there were weapons of mass destructions in Iraq because President Bush led them to believe this. Well, these supposed weapons were never found. So, was he lying? It seems so. What are we teaching our future leaders of tomorrow? Is it alright to lie in order to achieve an entirely opposite purpose? Although our country voted President Bush into office, I believe a lot of people are not supportive of him. I do not think the majority of American people think it is alright to kill thousands of foreign people, as well as American troops to find out there are no weapons of mass destruction. I believe when people vote this upcoming presidential election, they will think harder about whether the presidential candidates are as honest as they seem.
I discussed the value of honesty with my friend Jeni. To Jeni, honesty is how she treats people in communicating with them. She believes in being a real, authentic and genuine person. Also, she feels there is a cliché in society that people have to be brutally honest. Jeni says she balances her truth with kindness and compassion. For example, if someone asked her, “Do you like my haircut?” she would say, “I am not sure” instead of saying, “It looks horrible.” Jeni does not practice or believe in brutal honesty. She believes that pleasing other people is not an honest way to deal with people. Like Jeni, I think it would strengthen society if people tried to be more real, genuine and kind. It means more when someone speaks from a truthful place, instead of just saying what others want to hear.
I believe people value honesty because when people are dishonest, American society seems to make an example of them. For example, President Clinton was exposed when he had an affair with Monica Lewinsky. When he was first accused, he denied it then later said he did not consider oral sex to be the same as having sexual relations. President Clinton was accused of obstruction of justice and perjury and went through a trial, yet was not given any penalty beyond censure. Eventually, he admitted that his relationship with Monica Lewinsky was “not appropriate.” The former president's behavior with Monica Lewinsky left the American public with mixed feelings about his personal character.
A solution to encouraging honesty in our society is that honest people can set a positive example that our youth can look up to. We should be taught honesty from an early age in the family unit and through education. Those who lie and cheat should be punished to shows that this kind of behavior is unacceptable. Honesty should be part of everyday life, and part of being real, genuine and kind.
In order for honesty to be promoted and valued in society, people need to realize how important it is for society to advance and to function properly. We cannot move forward in understanding each other if we do not truly know each other’s truth. Children cannot become better citizens if they have had bad role models to look up to. Our society needs to teach that honesty is the best policy, and you get farther in life by being truthful. Only when children see honesty active and alive in society can they aspire to a better state.
“Bill Clinton,” www.wikipedia.org,
Gardner, Alexander, Abraham Lincoln head on shoulders, www.wikipedia.org,
St. Claire, Jeni. Phone interview. 28 Nov. 2007
Revised Spring 2008 - Carmasi