Today’s commentary will be an act of walking on eggshells and being careful to not be too judgmental. This is made trickier due to the amount of criminality and lack of character that takes place in full view of the public these days. As a society, it seems that we are much more willing to give integrity of our political and religious leaders a pass on character just so long as they agree with our goals and objectives. In other words, it doesn’t matter that they have sold their souls.
I was attracted to this quote by Abraham Lincoln. “If the great American people will only keep their temper on both sides of the line, the troubles will come to an end, and the question which now distracts the country will be settled just as surely as all other difficulties of like character which have originated in this government have been adjusted.”
Then, in the nineteenth century, the United States faced one of its most fundamental existential crises. History may well judge our present times in a similar manner. Will we sacrifice the ideals of our country on the altar of ideology or will we weather the storm and retain our constitutional democratic republic?
The lack of true character and integrity quickly eats away at the foundation in the same way battery acid crumbles concrete into sand. We find the benchmark qualities of advancing human rights, liberty for all, and progress in all matters being eaten away and disrespected. This recent loss of national character will be difficult to recover from, if at all.
In the meantime, we have been lied to in big ways and in small ways in our interpersonal relationships. It’s the manner in which we recover our wits and continue along our way that determines whether our integrity is weakened or strengthened. In turn, our collective character is reflected in our overall national character.
We have become accustomed to the telling of lies. We give our supreme leaders the permission to lie as long as they enable our ideological agendas. In doing so, we forget the truism that says one lie destroys an entire reputation of integrity. Dwight Eisenhower once said, “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”
Rereading the above paragraph and pondering it is worthwhile. It whets the appetite for reestablishing leadership that truly values integrity and advocates for every citizen, not just the powerful few.
We instinctively understand the great value of good character and pristine integrity. The great sages have espoused this value for ages. I cannot express this thought any better than has the spiritual teacher Don Miguel Ruiz. “Be Impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”