I have stuff on my mind and gotta say it – respectfully. I’ve been writing for this paper for – I guess – more than 10 years. I am a politics freak — and have been asked not to write about politics. I have complied, even as I have often had to tie my hands behind my back before sitting down at my computer to write a piece of fluff.
I write this – not as a democrat or a republican – but as an American who cares above all, about character, morality, integrity, civility, compassion and respect for belief systems that differ from mine. I believe strongly that I can learn from people who don’t agree with me and I am therefore open to listening with respect, to other points of view. I see this as an admirable quality passed on from parent to child – and from the people we choose as leaders –expressed by them, not with words, but with behaviors.
I have witnessed in my long life, leaders on both sides of the political spectrum whose position as national role models have fallen way short of ideal, and whose influence on the national consciousness and character has given a subliminal pass to those who give credence to the mantra “I believe it is okay to do whatever I can get away with, regardless of consequences to others or its inherent immorality, as long as it enhances my quality of life.” And enough people who wanted a better quality of life for themselves, who wanted all the fantastical life improvements that were promised to them – they better believe it — and they did — voted for the whole package.
The person who now has claim to the White House has indeed expressed with words and behaviors –very openly, and unapologetically, that very mantra. I will give him the benefit of what I do NOT know about him – that perhaps he has extended many kindnesses to people with whom “Quid Pro Quo” was not the ruling motive. But what is open to the public is a cess pool of actions and relationships based on his philosophy of life : “what’s in it for me.” Have I missed it? Is he on record showing some quality of inherent “goodness” or “kindness” that hasn’t been predicated on this principle?
Granted, ”goodness” and “kindness” may be “wimpy” characteristics, and not ones we consciously seek in a leader. But the blatant and complete absence of them trumps (!!) whatever strengths are demonstrated, when we evaluate what has come to be known as our national character. And folks, I really worry about our National Character.
Our country was built by people of strong character and principles that extended beyond the me- me-me image reflected every time our president opens his mouth or thumbs a tweet. Do we want the persona he presents to be a role model for our kids and future generations?
And P.S. John McCain – YOU ARE a hero !!