An exercise on integrity

By Farah G. Decano


INTEGRITY has always been compared to honesty.  The former is described as doing the right thing even when no one is looking while honesty is often referred to as the state of being truthful given a certain situation.

We often say that a person has integrity whenever he or she always does the right thing regardless of the situation while a person is honest when his words and actions reflect the truth.

From the usual definition, honesty is limited in scope.  It is a virtue that demonstrates conformity of our words, thoughts and actions with the truth while integrity is its consistent concurrence with truth and justice.

With above characterization of integrity, this virtue requires the alignment of our values, words, thoughts, and actions.  We experience wholeness of our being if there is an agreement between our interior and exterior lives.  On the other hand, if there seems to be a conflict, we cannot be at peace.  And, over time, we suffer brokenness.

In this coming election, we must be able to reflect our values through our votes.  If we claim to be Christians or God-fearing, or obedient to the principles of the bible, then we must vote for the candidate who exhibits these traits.  If we claim to be good parents to our children, then we must always consider their welfare whenever we shade the ballots.

It is difficult for us to reconcile our so-called Christianity when we choose unapologetic felons and accomplices for public office. Accomplices, by the way, are those who either hide the crime after the fact or benefit from these crimes.

Whenever I encounter a voter who is willing to shade a felon or accomplices’ name, I ask them, “Para kanino ka ba bumoboto?”  Someone interestingly answered, “Para maibangon nya ang pangalan ng ama nya.”  This voter was probably steeped in the drama of a protagonist who was bullied at the start of a movie which made him want to rush to the protagonist’s rescue before the movie ended.

The voter, however, failed to realize that the person he is voting for is an accomplice of a proven persecutor of the Filipino people.   Akala nya, ang binoboto nya ay parang si Fernando Poe Jr. na babalik sa Tondo para durugin ang kalaban.  He failed to notice that he is actually cheering on the character of either Pacquito Diaz or Eddie Garcia.  The sad reality is that some Filipinos cannot distinguish who is the real Fernando Poe and who is the real Pacquito Diaz.

I asked the same person, “Mas pipiliin mo ba na ibangon ng kandidatong yan ang kanyang ama kesa ibangon ang anak mo na magmamana sa ating bansa na lugmok na lugmok na sa hirap?” 

He was speechless.  His choice was reduced to sticking to the pointless drama in his mind or the future of his kid.  I let him be in his silence.

We are a nation of religious people.  I do not think there is any religion that will preach us to kill, steal or lie.  It is time we consider the standards taught to us by our conscience.  We must align our principles with our votes.

We have ignored our moral compass for so long in the name of sentimentality or practicality.  It is now time to heal our brokenness.  Let this year’s elections be an exercise of integrity.

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