Truth Must Not Be Compromised
By: Patti Bankson
Gone are the days when you could believe the news, as reported, and you could believe the words out of a politician’s mouth. That statement assumes those days actually existed. But looking over my shoulder into the past, I’m not convinced that integrity in our government(s) ever really existed the way I’ve allowed myself to believe it did. Ah, naïve me. Yes, in spite of my often cynical views, and my (more often) sarcasm, I’m still a bit naïve. Walking the fine line between painting everyone with the same broad brush, or throwing out the baby with the bath water, while still hanging on to even a modicum of naivete… enough to feel, at least, a little confident that we actually have, at least, some leaders with enough integrity to whole-heartedly engage in the battle between “good and evil”… to work for the good of our country, and We, the People. In fact, I’m hoping there’s another George Washington out there somewhere… more than one, in fact.
What was to become Washington’s lifelong obsession with self-improvement and character-building had already begun while he was still in his teens. He concerned himself with “rules of civility and decent behavior in company and conversation ”, which he learned from a seventeenth-century English translation by a French Jesuit. He was moving from a rural society to his brother’s more elegant world, and he felt those rules would help him not disgrace himself at Mount Vernon, and other plantations. He taught himself the “rules” dealing with respect for one’s superiors, and one’s God, with honesty in business, and moderation in behavior. Much of what he learned in those young years later became his standards of conduct. Am I saying he was perfect? Of course, not. He had a temper, and disliked criticism when it was directed at what he saw as (his) vulnerability, and, at which he would “strike back”. But, he also had what was “universally observed”, and what John Adams called, “the gift of silence”, which contributed to his reputation as a man of wisdom.
I can accept that leaders are only “human”, and have “flaws”. But I cannot accept, nor respect, their “leadership” when the flaws are serious, and, in fact, more than mere flaws… like dishonesty, duplicity, and self-serving manipulation, among others. The Way I See It, those denote a total lack of character, without which our country cannot continue to function, as, indeed, it is floundering right now in its efforts to do just that. Lies, duplicity and manipulation… in Congress, in the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, even the White House.
It’s easy to see why Congress holds hearings on steroid use in MLB and other trivialities… it’s nothing more than an opportunity to deflect the spotlight shining on their bad, and even illegal, acts. That’s probably why there’s no forward movement in DC… simply gridlock. Makes sense. When asked to, honest, God-fearing people cannot… must not! compromise their principles, their character, or the truth. PERIOD.
 Fathom/Columbia University
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