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Notes on Statesmanship

People must demand honesty and integrity in their leaders

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, takes the witness stand in the courtroom of Judge Michael J. Callahan in Wayne County’s 3rd Circuit Court in this Aug. 29, 2007, file photo. Kilpatrick exchanged romantic and sexually oriented text messages with a top aide, contradicting their denials in court that they had romantic ties, the Detroit Free Press reported on Jan. 23, 2008. (AP Photo/Gary Malerba, File)

From time to time, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has shown good policy instincts. He has talked about reducing the city’s "bloated and wasteful budget" and has taken some steps to rein in the cost and expanse of local government.

How inadequate those brief moments become in light of the mayor’s lies under oath, secret deals, cover-ups and abuse of trust. These things are hardly leadership by example.

Leadership — and the personal character that produces it — counts. Its absence is costly. However the current scandal plays out in Detroit, this can be an instructional moment for all of us.

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(Note: People must demand honesty and integrity in their leaders originally appeared in the Feb. 29, 2008, Detroit Free Press and was published on www.mackinac.org on March 4, 2008.)