Hot Topic: If elected, I solemnly pledge to . . .
We asked Monitor readers yesterday about New Hampshire’s longtime “Pledge” against broad-based taxes and whether there were more modern vows that voters might extract from politicians. Here’s a taste of what we heard:
Pledges are for politicians who feel they can’t control themselves. They are childish and do not take into account changes that can happen in the future. The Pledge has tied our state up in knots for 40 years.
New Hampshire politicians should pledge not to privatize the criminal justice system. This includes the Department of Corrections.
Here’s my promise
‘I will take no pledge that is negative by its terms. As a candidate I will tell you what I propose to do if elected and why I think that will be a good thing for our community. As an office holder I will tell you if I change my mind, and why. I pledge to you that I will listen to the best of my ability, and I promise to keep an open mind for every good idea offered by my colleagues. That is my pledge.”
PETER HOE BURLING
No pledges, please
I am opposed to all pre-election pledges including “The Pledge.” Any such pledge renders the election process mute and debate useless. All candidates and voters have starting positions, but we should never close our minds ahead of time. If it a matter of a deeply held conviction (i.e. capital punishment), then predetermined judgment is appropriate because such judgments are not subject to change as a result of debate.