By Alexandra Leigon
Every midterm election, there are candidates running who could turn the tide toward truth if they got into office. Most of them know little to nothing about the Pro-Truth Pledge. So each election, the Pro-Truth Pledge staff, and our many volunteers reach out to all candidates nationwide, asking them to sign the Pledge. It is our goal to not only have candidates commit to speaking truth in their campaign promotionals, but to spread the idea that truth in politics is something broadly achievable. If one candidate signs the Pledge, begins to shape their rhetoric and strategy with truthful information and is willing to be held accountable for the statements they make and the ads they produce, it can serve as a strong incentive to other candidates in the same race to do likewise. Having a candidate agree to the principles of the Pledge can positively affect their campaign, drawing voters to see the comparison between the candidate and others in the race. The hoped-for outcome would see all candidates do likewise in an effort to be competitive. It is not a goal achievable in any single election year, but consistently pursued election after election, it could alter the nature of campaigning over time.
Each year we hope to find more candidates willing to commit their entire campaigns to speaking and promoting the truth. This year we got especially lucky in reaching out to the candidates for governor in Maryland. We had a response from a candidate who has placed truth in politics at the center of an entire movement he started, and he was eager to demonstrate what he has been promoting for years. Ralph Jaffe is a teacher and a Democratic candidate for Governor of Maryland who resides in Baltimore. He believes the most vital element of this year’s gubernatorial race is speaking the truth. He wants to build a movement for truth in Baltimore because he believes that corruption is the greatest impediment to seeing that the citizens of Maryland are fairly represented. In his view, they need a government that will work to address issues of corruption that lie at the root of Maryland’s biggest problems. In my conversation with him, I was impressed by his genuine commitment to seeking a way to demonstrate through his own campaign and his own term in office how the current political climate could be changed. In particular, his willingness to serve without compensation and to limit his time in office to a single term could provide evidence of the positive effects of limiting corruption at the state level.
His website’s URL says it all: fedupwithcrookedpolitics.com . His Mission Statement tells us exactly where he is coming from: “I am a teacher, not a politician. I use the political campaigns as a teaching device to show my students where the corruption is in government. Then, on a volunteer basis, my students can vote for the principles on which I stand. The JAFFE MOVEMENT’S mission is to put a stop to corruption in the Maryland political system and to replace it with true, ethical reform”. His commitment and determination are inspiring. He discusses the principles of his movement in a YouTube video here:
Image credit: Ballotpedia.org