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Giving Your Word/Signing Your Name/Keeping Your Promises

Updated on March 30, 2016

It's time to fly the distress signal.


When is a pledge not a pledge?

In America when the national flag is flown upside down it signals distress, emergency, help needed. Thus it was that driving by a local Army Reserve Center a few years ago, I stopped to enter the center and ask what was so distressful. Whoever put up the flag that morning had inadvertently put it up upside down. Problem corrected.

In the topsy-turvy world of the presidential Campaign 2016 the American flag should be flying upside down for what at best would be labeled "disarray" (as in the recent Hub Campaign 2016 (The Disarray) and, at worst, by some other term of "help needed" or "emergency".

If recollection can take you back to September 2015, all the Republican contenders for the presidency pledged to support the one of them who eventually wins their party's nomination.

In a recent March 2016 debate featuring the three remaining contenders, Mr. Trump said he would not stick to his pledge because the Republican Party, in whole or part, was not treating him as fairly as it should. When Senator Cruz and Governor Kasich, the other remaining contenders, were asked how they stood on their written pledges to support the eventual nominee, they hedged (as politicians so often do on sensitive questions) and avoided direct answers about their own September 2015 pledges.

To his credit, Mr. Trump had originally, before his pledge, said that he would, if he was treated fairly by the Republican Party. His reversal was, at best, a half step back from his earlier pledge. Cruz' hedge and Kasich's hedge were at least a half step back from theirs.

If any politician's promises made during election campaigns turn out to be empty promises, their empty rhetoric should long ago have ceased to surprise any serious voters.

In fact, that is a large part of why even serious voters are so angry this time around.

On the Democrats' side of the race, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is so far to the left of his party that many of his supporters picture him as an "outsider" not fully accountable for the dismal opinion so many American voters have of the current Congress. His extravagant promises of "free this" and "free that" are patently unachievable.

Mrs. Clinton, the Democrats' March 2016 front runner, former New York Senator, and Secretary of State under President Obama, has been taking her own half steps back from some previous positions she has stood for, including the trans-pacific trade partnership she had previously supported (presumably because it was so voluminous that, as with the Affordable Care Act, she hadn't taken the time to read it all before first supporting it.)

The Old Saying

The old saying was quite clear in stating that "A man is as good as his word."

If that saying was still true, we would have to change it to "A person is as good as their word."

Perhaps it is no longer true simply because no serious voter any longer expects to hold politicians responsible for what they say on the campaign trail.

As a result, rather than a Donkey Democrat or an Elephant Republican winning the election for the presidency in November 2016, the American electorate is more likely to get a Pig In A Poke, while having no true idea of which of the eventual winner's promises will be kept, and which were simply campaign rhetoric.

Which is better: gut feeling or serious thought?

Perhaps it is combining the two?
Perhaps it is combining the two? | Source

Voting In 2016

How will you decide who to vote for in 2016?

See results


© 2016 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.


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    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      The campaign of 2016 will be known as a three ring circus, but will not go down in history as something good. It is like reality TV, and it is nothing to share pride in.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      How have we come to this? We've been led by a lot of people who are less than wise, less than honorable but we've reached extremism and new lows.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      I agree that it is time for the distress signal. Political pledges last a few weeks before the politicians change their minds; they argue like children about who started it first; the obviously forget about the interests of the people. Nobody can predict where the nation is heading. You bring to the surface issues that need serious thought.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      4 years ago from Beautiful South

      There is a big technical difference between “pledge” and “support”. When someone makes a pledge, it is a pledge or a promise to do something. When someone supports a cause, like the trade agreement, and then sees that it is not working, that person has every right to withdraw support. If that cause the person supported becomes harmful, the person has an obligation to withdraw support from whatever is harmful. The keyword here is “knowingly”. There also seems to be a clause in the law that allows one to withdraw from a pledge if one has made that pledge because the other party made false pretenses, like marriage vows or a contract for something the other party knows doesn’t exist. The question could also be asked, “is the party obligated to support the winning candidate who made the pledge?” In other words, has the party pledged back to the winning candidate an obligation? Is it a two-way street, or does the party have the right to be wishy-washy, too?

      Like it or not, even political parties are in a constant state of flux. Today’s Republican and Democrat parties have actually flip-flopped positions since the 19th Century, and today extremists have risen to power in both parties, probably given the cooler heads in both reflux. So, the result is, as you say, probably a Pig in a Poke.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Interesting and chuck full of ideas. The one I see as having to back out of the pledge is Trump as the establishment is obviously not treating him the same as Cruz.


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