Politicians are often rightly accused of sanitizing their words. It is as if nobody except the opposition party can be criticized. The idea that honesty and differences me that one has a critical view of another does not compute. The result is a bland, often boring, statement of the obvious that does not really say anything! At some point, one finds one’s self applauding candor even if the substance is missing or off a bit.
If I could challenge a leading candidate, I would ask the following.
How do you reconcile your candidness with the thirst and longing of many, myself included, for deep, thoughtful candor? I promise not to parse your words and phrases but to take candidness as a whole. I promise I will assume the best and give you a chance to clarify yourself after the fact. If there is more that you need, let me know and I will strive to give it to you. With this, are you willing to be candid?
What do you think of ____________? Name a hot topic of the day with different opinions. How do you reconcile your viewpoint with ____________? (Anything that touches individuals or communities personally.) What are your guiding principle(s) in your view?
Can you tell me three strengths in each of your opponents? What would they bring that is better or stronger than you to the role?
Even as I write, I find myself looking in the mirror, hearing God’s whisper in the background. Am I willing to be candid with Divinity? Are there limits to what I might say? What about the questions above? Do I have answers I am willing to share?
As much as I hope my answers are candid, I understand my sanitized conversation say something quite different. With the last point as as example, I think of my opponents and I find myself thinking, “O God, give them their just deserts! You’ve got the whole world in your hands!” (Psalm 82.8)
I admit I have lacked candor for a long time. I hope today will be different.