Character Counts

By: Patti Bankson
      When I sat down to write this, my first thought was to tackle the “He Said, He Said” issue of Monday night’s debate. In fact, I was ready to email it to the newspaper, when my husband read something to me from a book he had just received in the mail. It was one of those light-bulb moments… it changed my mind, and my direction, because it brought my attention back to what is important, and what is not.
        Pointing out that grown men don’t always play “nice” in the sandbox, and picking the one who kicks the most/least sand would be the easiest, most obvious thing to focus on… but certainly not the most important.
        The hardest thing we have to do as citizens is to wade through the verbal debris that is today’s campaign style. That’s what causes many to take the easy way out… the short-cut… to deciding for whom to vote. Do we base our decisions on a candidate’s looks? His coolness? Where he’s from? Who he hangs out with… like the Hollwood elite, or Wall Street movers and shakers, or just plain folks from his small hometown? Do we listen to the critique of a candidate, or do we lean on who, or what, we believe him to be? As in,  letting him tickle our ears with “sweet nothings”? (You know, he talks sweet, but really says “nothing”?) Do we do our own fact-check, or do we just let ourselves believe everything we hear?
        In his book, “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?” Why The Truth Matters More Than You Think”, author Andy Andrews asks: How can we tell if a politician is telling the truth? He then reminds us of the old joke, “How can you tell if a politician is lying? If he’s moving his lips.” I think we’ve all learned that just because someone “says it, doesn’t mean it’s true.”
        In this “Silly Season”, when big decisions are ours to make at the polls, remember this piece of advice from author Andrews:… “past performance serves to reveal future behavior. A person who has exhibited a pattern of lying is a liar.” Etc. Some call that character assassination, but how can we assassinate something that may not exist? 
 When you want to test a person’s character, give them power. Power corrupts. And, because it does, the higher the office, the more important Character becomes. Not style or intellect.. Some of the most intelligent leaders in history brought disaster to their countries.
Great leadership is a product of great character. That’s why character matters. And that’s why that’s all we should consider when we vote…
About The Author Patti Bankson:
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