Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Character Counts

 Character Counts


This past week our nation was rocked by behaviors that were both frightening and disgusting.   American citizens performed act of insurrection against our Capitol building and upon the elected officials of our government.  

The people who did these things while primarily white and male, came from all walks of life.  It is totally irrelevant what one's political beliefs are.  What is very relevant is exactly what the Vice-President of our country said, "violence does not solve problems".

 People are blaming Trump for the violence and in some ways he is certainly to blame. However, there is enough blame to go around.  Somewhere along the line, the thousands of people at that insurrection also need to be accountable for their behaviors.

When these adults were children where were the people who are responsible for teaching character- I’m looking at the adults in the lives of these children- parents, educators, clergy, community leaders.  Why were they not taught that freedoms are inexorably linked to responsibility?   Yes our Constitution guarantees free speech, but that free speech is not unfettered.   We cannot cry fire in a crowded room where there is not fire; and we cannot make threats to the physical safety of others.

We have allowed the character of too many of our citizens to be lost to corruption.  Corruption is the erosion of standards and principles and their replacement with baser motives like money and power.

What is most frightening of all is that we live in a capitalistic society where supply and demand rule the economy.   So it is also true that when there is a high demand for these outrageous behaviors, market incentive increases and we get more of the vile twisting of character to cater to ego rather than principle.

We need to teach our children both at home and in schools and in the community that there are yardsticks of good character and these yardsticks are not bent or shaved to meet ego needs of others.

Each time a person accepts an unacceptable behavior, we all move closer to the fire.  And one day as last week, we find ourselves in the flames and wonder how that happened.

It happened because we failed to say “NO” to the minor acts of indecency by our children, adults and particularly our “so called” leaders. And so each time we did not call the person out on a wrongful behavior, each time we did not exact a consequence for that behavior, the next act of indecency just got more indecent until you had an attempt at a full-scale insurrection.  And each of us became complacent in those terrible behaviors. 

Character counts and we cannot start too soon to teach that concept to our children.

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