Performing Your Civic Duties

What Constitutes Good Ethics In Politics? Defining Features And How They Apply

There are two areas of ethics in politics. Both are necessary if a political candidate wants to win an election with the platform of being morally upright and just. An example of this would be Kathy Hamilton, the elected official of the DuPage Board. She has demonstrated both the ethics of process and the ethics of policy. Here is what these two areas of ethics in politics mean, their defining features and how they apply to politicians currently.

Ethics of Process

The ethics of process questions the moral behavior and actions of someone already in office or someone who is attempting to get into a political office in morally objectionable ways. Examples of this type of political ethics is an election recall when it is suspected that the winning candidate may have stuffed the ballot box, or exposing a college president's spending habits when money that should have gone to the school's budget was instead spent on personal luxury items. To avoid ethical scandals, many candidates opt for total transparency, which places every purchase, every expenditure, every contribution and every decision in the public eye for the public's scrutiny.

Ethics of Policy

The ethics of policy spotlights a political candidate's choices in public policy, regulation and law. It asks that the public examine how an incumbent provided for and protected the constituents in his or her district. Laws and regulations made that served the people well, such as the denial of a tax or college tuition increase that would allow everyone an equal opportunity at life and an affordable education, are examples of good ethics of policy. Additionally, the refute of a millions of dollars of federal grant money when it is not needed and would be uncovered as fraud and waste by the organization that takes it is also good ethics of policy.

How Political Ethics Apply to Current Politicians

Some politicians have clearly got the concept of good political ethics down. Others do not. When you know what constitutes good political ethics, you can judge for yourself when the news prints scathing and scandalous stories about politicians that serve your district and your state, as well the President and presidential candidates. Then it remains up to you and your personal and moral views to decide if a candidate has upheld sound political ethics or has brushed them under the rug for a more personal pursuit of their ideals.