Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2004, the Roundup published a short but poignant letter to the editor by eighth-grade student Breanne Standifird.
With the simple sincerity of a child, Breanne expressed hope that adults would carefully consider the character of a candidate before casting their ballots, locally and nationally.
She reminded us that children throughout the country are learning about the six pillars of character: respect, honesty, fairness, responsibility, caring and citizenship.
Breanne said that if character truly counts, then an individual's morality cannot be separated from his or her ability to lead. This, she said, must be the first test for any candidate.
Yes, Breanne, there is a need for character in our leaders -- perhaps today more than ever.
You were right to trust your heart when you expressed the belief that all mankind has the capacity to know good from evil. We should not elect leaders who willfully step away from what they know is right and true.
History is filled with tragic stories of civilizations that fell because their leaders led them astray -- calling good evil, and evil good.
Right here in the United States, there are battles being waged against basic truths that strike at the very foundation of our Constitution. But like Sodom and Gomorrah of Old Testament times, there is a wave of acceptance beating down the conscience of America.
Yes, Breanne, we should hold our leaders to the same standards we expect from our children.
You said, "All of this seems so simple for me ... And yet, people who are obviously immoral have been elected to positions of leadership in our town, our state, and our country."
You are right, and we thank you for reminding us that we need to choose well, for our children are watching.