Nation in Peril?

Still Walkin' by Jan Curran

Some thoughts on ethics.

Can you remember the time when men or women were admired because of their steadfast approach to personal ethics? Remember learning in school about George Washington’s admittance that he did indeed cut down the cherry tree or Honest Abe‘s trek to repay someone a penny? Remember when a man’s word was his bond. Or how about a hand shake to seal a deal. Remember the stories of people who felt their word was a sacred trust and if the judgment turned out badly, they stuck by their word because it was their personal bond. I think many of us came from a family culture where parents demanded honesty of us. Personally speaking, my school demanded it and personal integrity was the ethical cornerstone of ones character in my profession of arms. It was drummed into me early on that my word was my bond; it was my sacred trust! I was accountable not only to my comrades for whom trust was the basis of our professional and personal relationships, but also to my God.
Now, how does that concept of trust and honesty apply to those at the highest levels of our government. Do we not have the right to expect that the people we have placed in positions of the greatest responsibility in our nation also abide by the principles I have outlined above. Should we not expect these people to set the example of leadership by adhering to them? They are simple: truthfulness, honest and ethical behavior, keeping ones word, holding dear the concept of your word as your sacred trust.
How does that compare to today’s climate in the White house and the halls of Congress in the everyday conduct of its business? How do our people react to the torrent of falsehoods, evasions, denials, manipulations and parsing of language that permeates the theater of everyday political life here in America. Now it seems that one is admired because he/she is clever enough to escape accountability. Personally, I find this to be repugnant.
Just look at the back flips and evasions we must endure to not be considered “judgmental.” Look at all the euphemisms we have concocted to shield us from acknowledging the obvious. Now when someone is lying we say they are being disingenuous, Or “misstating” the facts on our or their position. They “play fast and loose” with the truth or their remarks are “taken out of context.” We try in every way possible to parse our language so we don’t have to say that someone who is lying is a “liar.” But it goes much further than the spoken word. It also includes questions of moral turpitude, of embracing conflicts of interest, of outright fraud or tax evasion and extortion and outright acts of dishonesty.
Although we, as citizens, may look beyond individual transgressions and are willing to ignore many we are witnessing a very dangerous loss of trust and confidence in our collective leadership. Our Congress is gaining a reputation for dishonesty and self interest that is having a stultifying impact on the normally cheerful outlook by our people. I have foreboding sense that a general pessimism and helplessness is enervating the country. I think the Government has lost the trust of the people and deservedly so. And when trust is gone so is the political bedrock of our Republic. I truly feel we are in perilous times.

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