We the people of the United States of America demand more from presidential candidates than just meeting meager requirements of age and place of birth. They must first and foremost possess the virtue of honesty.
George Washington told Alexander Hamilton, “I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” Thomas Jefferson wrote to Nathaniel Macon, “Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.” Without honesty, there exists an inability to learn from past mistakes. As Benjamin Franklin tells us “Honesty is the best policy,” because as Mark Twain observes “Always tell the truth. That way you don’t have to remember what you said.”
Our open society requires trust. Meaningful public dialogue promotes confidence in environmental safety and security. FDR notes, “Confidence... thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.” Considering confidence, Edward R. Murrow defines honesty by saying, “To be persuasive, we must be believable; to be believable, we must be credible; to be credible, we must be truthful.”