Guest Editorial: Elected Officials

Langford lesson: Know who you vote for

Last week Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford was convicted on 60 counts of bribery, sentenced to prison and ousted from office.

While Langford's case is certainly not the first of its kind... the history of democracy is peppered with such disheartening events... it is the most recent, glaring, and close to home episode in which an elected official proved to be un-trustworthy.

Two thoughts come to mind. First, I am reminded that we should all be glad we live within a system that allows the powerful to be brought to justice... even if it doesn't always succeed.

Secondly, I wonder... what can we do to help keep this from happening again? Of course, the answer is, elect the right people to office. Easier said than done, but not impossible.

As we approach a major election year in 2010, we must pay attention to more than just what the candidates say they believe or say they will do once elected. We must take the time learn all we can about them, about their values, about their character.

Because elected officials don't leave their character at home before going to work. They bring it with them. And, sooner or later it reveals itself, and we, as well as they, must live with the consequences.

Mark Wilder
Internet, Operations and Programming Manager for WSFA 12 News