We are all responsible for the integrity of our democracy

 

Re Fred Grimm’s June 3 column, Surprise! Both parties cheated in Joe Garcia’s district: I take exception to the cynicism that Grimm nonchalantly throws around when he suggests that resident of House District D 26 need to “come up with congressional candidates not inclined to subvert elections.”

As the candidate that came in second place with 34 percent of the vote in that primary, I can state unequivocally that neither I nor any of my campaign staff subverted the electoral process. While I can appreciate political satire, after more than three years of political intrigue, allegations and investigations that have hurt South Florida, Grimm’s commentary seems misplaced.

The incidents to which he refers continue to lead to a culture of corruption that undermines our process in ways that can’t be measured: Who lost faith in our democracy with these revelations? Who will choose to sit it out instead of lead? Stay home instead of volunteer — or even vote? Ignore candidates instead of financially supporting the true change agents we so desperately need?

All of us must take responsibility to fight back against the corruption propagated by the likes of Jeff Garcia and David Rivera. In referring to the moral state of a people, the Talmud says that few are guilty but all are responsible. As this investigation unfolds, we must look to our broader responsibility. How are we living up to our common values and aspirations for a democracy that engenders a level playing field for every candidate to earn the vote of our citizens? For a vibrant pool of ethical leaders who continually come off the sidelines to seek public service because they are motivated by promoting the common good?

I have continued to devote my time, talent and treasure to mentoring and assisting women who wish to run for office. This year as statewide co-chair of Ruth’s List Florida I am energized by the talented women emerging across our state seeking to be the change they wish to see in our communities.

Kudos to the Miami Herald and to Miami-Dade State Attorney Kathy Fernandez-Rundle for seeking the truth, because our democracy depends on transparency and accountability to survive.

But transparency and accountability are not enough. In the face of many voices investing and working for ethics in leadership, the few who are willing to manipulate, deceive and defraud cannot get their way. In the face of silence, they will win again and again. The solution to these ills will require a wholesale change in attitude among voters, donors and activists — a real desire to invest time, resources and effort into leadership we can trust. A few may be found guilty in District 26, but we are all responsible for building and protecting a culture that strengthens our democracy and upholds our values.

Gloria Romero Roses, Southwest Ranches

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