Integrity, noun, the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. -Oxford Languages
In laymen’s terms, integrity is often described as, “Doing the right thing, even though no one is watching.”
When I think about the current election season, this word and meaning keep coming to mind.
If you’ve been out and about lately, you have probably seen the number of political signs steadily increasing throughout Kyle. It started with just a couple, but it seems as if a new one is being added nearly daily.
I was spending some extra time waiting for a train in downtown Kyle the other day, when I noticed something missing from a shocking number of the signs: a right-of-way disclaimer.
You see, according to Sec. 225.001 of the Texas Election Code, “(a) The following notice must be written on each political advertising sign:
‘NOTICE: IT IS A VIOLATION OF STATE LAW (CHAPTERS 392 AND 393, TRANSPORTATION CODE), TO PLACE THIS SIGN IN THE RIGHT-OF-WAY OF A HIGHWAY.’
(b) A person commits an offense if the person:
(1) knowingly enters into a contract to print or make a political advertising sign that does not contain the notice required by Subsection (a); or
(2) instructs another person to place a political advertising sign that does not contain the notice required by Subsection (a).
(c) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
(d) It is an exception to the application of Subsection (b) that the political advertising sign was printed or made before September 1, 1997, and complied with Subsection (a) as it existed immediately before that date.
(e) In this section, ‘political advertising sign’ means a written form of political advertising designed to be seen from a road but does not include a bumper sticker.
This means, all forms of political signage (save bumper stickers) intended to be seen from the road must have the disclaimer regarding the illegality of placing a sign in the right-of-way.
It seems like a small thing, I am sure. But that brings me back to integrity.
If the election officials in the county are not doing anything about it, which —judging by the fact that the signs are still up — they aren’t, does that make it okay?
I believe it does not. I believe that the people I want to represent me should be looking at the “small things” because those become the big things down the road.
When someone takes a political office, they have a duty to uphold the laws of the body of which they are sworn into. But I can tell you that a lot of that upholding (or lack thereof) happens behind the scenes.
If our candidates cannot even manage a simple disclosure for something that is plastered all around the city, what faith do I have that they will speak for the best interests of the people day in and day out behind closed doors?
From the time this publishes, election day will be less than one week away. I encourage you to spend that time doing your research. Look at the history of the people running for office. Do they maintain integrity? Do their actions match their words? And maybe, just maybe, check out their signs on the way into city hall. You might be surprised.