Jonathan Kraut: Don’t forfeit the demand for honesty

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More important than any other quality in our daily lives is the need for credibility. Without credibility in our environment there would be chaos, added uncertainty, and even avoidable injury and death.

Credibility is defined as the quality of being believable or worthy of trust.

In other words, a statement or representation that has credence and that a reasonable person is to believe as very likely is credible. On the other hand, a statement or representation that a reasonable person cannot believe or cannot trust is not credible.

Imagine if the stop signs on our street corners could instantly and without notice change to “Go” and traffic signals at our intersections would without warning change colors mid-sequence.

You can understand by this analogy how important it is that all participants on our streets believe that a signal or traffic instruction is to be believed and is to be trusted.

We can agree that traffic signals and signs must be perceived as credible for a safe and efficient commuter environment to exist.

What if you have five items, each priced at $1, at the checkout stand at your grocery market and the cashier rings up a bill for $100. You would realize your bill for a $5 purchase is overpriced and hopefully dispute the price. As a result, the store would lose credibility and you may change grocery stores or start bringing a calculator with you to verify the amount charged.

We can understand how important it is to believe the representation made by a retailer regarding price. Truthfulness maintains order and trust.

I have always respected a bank robber who enters a bank with a gun and a demand note more than a bank teller who uses his or her position of trust to embezzle and surreptitiously defraud the bank and its customers. At least a bank robber has the “credibility” to represent an overt criminal act and not hide behind a position of trust to conceal misconduct.

The expectation that statements are believable and worthy of trust should be just as important in politics as it is in our daily lives.

From city and state government we want to know that our tax assessments, civic improvement promises, and government representations are credible and accurate. The whole idea about voters electing candidates to represent them embraces the notion that promises made by candidates are promises kept.

Our society unfortunately accepts and even expects those elected to deceive, misrepresent, and dismiss the truth. If there is any flaw with American society, it is that it is okay for politicians to deceive and lie. Our precious votes should not be wasted on those who deceive, mislead, or misrepresent.

Remember Trump’s famous words “We are going to build a border wall and Mexico is going to pay for it.”

This statement is not true – if we ever build a $50 billion wall, we are going to pay for it.

“We are going to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare” is another constantly repeated lie even to this day by Mr. Trump.

There was no immediate repeal and even now there is doubt that is will ultimately occur this year. The time for “immediately” has come and gone.

On May 19 of this year Trump stated regarding Russian coordination pertaining to the defeat of Hillary Clinton “the entire thing has been a witch hunt and there has been no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign. …”

There was collusion with Russia by senior Trump officials to include his campaign manager, son and son-in-law. This statement by Trump is also false.

Collusion is defined as “secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy.”

To be clear, cooperation with intent, whether realized or not, is collusion. In addition, coordination, i.e. discussion, by any political campaign with official or unofficial representatives of a foreign power is defined as an illegal act.

Trump is saying that trying to get dirt on the opposition candidate is what any campaign would attempt to do, whether with a foreign power or not. In other words, Trump represents that is it okay to commit a federal crime in order to win.

Except for the 35 percent of Americans who polls show will support Trump regardless of the truth, we deserve better.

For most Americans, Trump has lost forever his credibility. He has created chaos, added uncertainty, and may lead to avoidable injury and death on the world stage.

If you are one of the 35 percent please examine if Trump, or any politician, is worth surrendering your need for truthfulness and credibility.

Jonathan Kraut directs private investigations and private security firms, is a published author, Democratic Party activist, and SCV Interfaith Council member. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or of other organizations.

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