As reported, Boeing 737 MAX’s lapses in safety were caused by a company culture that lacked integrity.

In engineering school, we were taught that safety and availability of flight-critical functions must be guaranteed. It pains me to witness such a decay in my profession’s integrity. Is this a symptom of what, at a larger scale, becomes a malaise that eats at the soul of our society?

It is the integrity of people and processes that ensures the stability of our world. We enjoy our lives because we trust what we ingest, walk on, drive, fly or live in. We expect that our news is unbiased and factual.

We hope that our elected officials, at any level, act with integrity, as their actions set the tone for how we fare as communities. Sometimes ill-conceived decisions affect us immediately; other times, they have multi-generational consequences. We don’t have the time and ability to verify that every government’s motion is in the public’s best interest. When we elect our officials, we give them license to make decisions on our behalf.

Recently we faced, both at the city and county level, decisions that lack integrity.

We were informed verbally and in writing by four City of North Port officials that they cut $5 million in the 2020 budget expenditures. How can they claim that they cut something that, according to their written replies, did not get upfront approval? Skillful usage of words cannot hide the lack of integrity. Conscious disregard of the ordinances, or of the pleadings of their constituents, suggests poor judgment.

The year 2019 went down in history with three county commissioners being deaf to the calls of a significant part of their constituents and looking the other way, instead into the laws. The county faces a lawsuit that depicts their redistricting actions as depriving thousands of African Americans from Newtown of their right to vote and that the redistricting violated the U.S. Constitution.

I attended the last meetings and expressed why it will be wise and prudent to wait till after the 2020 Census to proceed with redistricting. How the approved county district maps came to life and the arguments and behaviors of the three commissioners presented an almost Orwellian atmosphere.

Our world is imperfect but there is hope, if we get involved and vote for those who deserve our trust. When I lived under communism (the constitution declared the Communist Party the only political force of the society), I detested any thought associating me with being political.

Is it that bad to be political, in the true sense of the word? Its Greek origin, politikos, refers to city-state affairs. Perusal of Plato’s and Aristotle’s writings shows that, historically, being civically involved was positive. The structural societal changes we have seen — for the better — were triggered by those who were civically proactive, or political. Understanding what special interests and personal goals motivate candidates, and using this knowledge via civic action is a superpower that puts integrity where we need it the most.

The reverse — public apathy and indifference — only facilitate abuse and corruption.

Will we agree to take off in a safety-questionable plane piloted by an integrity-questionable crew? Let the 2020 election be a start where we trust, but verify.

Victor Dobrin is a retired Ford Motor Co. engineering manager who lives in West Villages.