Honesty is a concept that our parents preached to all of us as we were growing up. It is a basic human virtue, way of life and necessity in developing positive relationships. One would hope that this virtue extends to larger institutions, more specifically the United States government. But are the organizations and companies we trust always honest?

The average American would say no. They would say, “our government is corrupt and corporations are constantly lying to us.” What kind of world do we live in where we cannot trust the companies we support or the people ruling our nation? Not a very good one.

For once, however, a politician did the opposite of what was expected of him. At the Republican presidential debate on Sept. 16, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was an honest guy. He confessed to smoking marijuana in high school when opponent Sen. Rand Paul blatantly called him out on it. While I am neither a Republican nor a Bush supporter, what he did was bold. It was charismatic. It was beneficial to him and his public image.

Jeb Bush was refreshingly honest at the Republican Debate, which actually served as the best Public Relations strategy of all. PHOTO VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Jeb Bush was refreshingly honest at the Republican Debate on Sept. 16, which actually served as the best public relations strategy of all. PHOTO VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

I, for one, respect him. And to take this even a step beyond the United States government, I respect companies that say, “Yes, we are responsible for that horrible occurrence,” or, “we caused pain and trauma to our customers. We apologize and will work to move past it.” I think it shows true character for a company or public figure to take responsibility for mistakes or wrongdoings.

In the context of relationships, trust and honesty are incredibly important. My main motto, when it comes to a relationship with a boyfriend or friend, is to be honest about how you feel. Nothing comes out of ignoring problems and not being honest. And even when someone confronts you about something, coming up with an excuse isn’t worth it. Taking responsibility for your actions is so much more mature than making up an excuse.

Even more so, I’m learning in my Introduction to Public Relations class that public relations theorists who suggested this “honesty is the best policy” were radical for their time. Even better, those publicists who told the truth instead of trying to “spin” issues were more successful in their crisis management and reputation control strategies. It is amazing what can happen when the truth is told.