By Fr. Glenn JonesIs anyone—everyone—confused? Perhaps more than we think. With the onslaught of conflicting information concerning the various candidates in the upcoming election, it’s hard not to be. We find ourselves continuously having to ask: “Is this … or is it that … report which is correct; they are claiming essentially opposite things. Did this thing even really happen … and as they say it happened? Did he or she really do what is alleged?Sigh. For those who want to be truly informed and not simply vote for the “correct” letter by a name, it can be a jungle out there. But, unfortunately, politics has always been that way. One reads in the history of the Roman republic of the same (even worse) jockeying for position of candidates for the ruling consuls’ seats, with all sorts of accusations, misinformation and mud thrown around. The same has certainly occurred in this nation throughout its history as well … as we older who have seen many elections well know. After all, scriptwriters of even the old classic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” didn’t get their plot from thin air or wild imagination.Where power exists, it will be pursued at least some (most?) of the time with selfish purpose—whether in national governments, businesses, churches or wherever; that is simply a tragic reality of our human condition. Founders of organizations often have the best motives and purpose, but they eventually pass them on to others who may not; it is quite difficult to discern hearts’ intentions, regardless of outward claims or past record. Not infrequently people will present a helpful and loyal Dr. Jekyll mien while in lower ranks, then transform into Mr. Hyde when attaining higher position. Or, like Judas Iscariot, even betray their own benefactors and former mentors for material gain.Wealth and fame, power and authority are strong attractors for our species, and in pursuit of those, truth, integrity and unselfish purpose are all-too-often discarded when the former are achieved. In the choice of government officials such is particularly detrimental, however, because their pursuit of self is to the hurt of those who govern—embezzled funds from taxes, bribes, shady deals, etc. And thus of information is vital for the greater good of the many when it comes to choosing those who govern. How can voters possibly make good decisions without truth? Misinformation is simply an attempt at coercion using false pretenses. One cannot help but want to question the misinformer: “If you are confident and seek the common good by your position, then why do you misinform?” And, of course, those who spread misinformation may themselves be misinformed, and thus the snowball rolls farther down the hill and picks up speed and mass. Jesus tells a parable of two brothers: one who tells his father that he will obey but does not, and the other who says he will not obey and yet repents and does so. Despite the second son’s initial impertinence, Jesus says it is he who actually does the will of his father.All too often, though, poorly chosen (often because of misinformation) officials are like the first son—mouthing the right words to voters simply to get elected, but afterward acting quite oppositely for selfish purpose. This, of course, is terribly frustrating to those who put their trust in them, and in the various sources of information upon which they based their decision that they theretofore had considered trustworthy. Voters are most often sincere and desire the best for all the governed, and conscience would not allow most a moment’s peace should they have acted otherwise; thus, they are mystified when betrayed and cannot imagine how deceitful persons can “live with themselves”. But, alas, the deceitful can and do … and often without apparent qualms or remorse. So the sincere have to always be alert to that sad reality, remembering Jesus’ own warning: “I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16), and for us to remember that: “He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.” (Luke 16:10) How wonderful it would be if we could simply trust, and that those who govern—and those who inform—were unfailingly trust-worthy, carrying the burden of governance with honor. Well … we may not be able to change the world, but we can certainly mold ourselves, becoming the persons which WE long to associate with: trustworthy, self-giving, honest in all circumstances. After all, we remember Jesus: “…whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops” (Luke 12:3), and in John’s Revelation: “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done.” (Revelation 22:12) Rather than dread that day, live as to look for it with anxious anticipation and so as to be received into the Heavenly habitations with the words ringing in our ears: “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little…enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:23)Pilate said to [Jesus], ‘What is truth?’” (John 18:37-38)“Jesus said… ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life…’” (John 14:6)Rev. Glenn Jones is the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and former pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Los Alamos.