Character, Citizenship, and Leadership: Joe’s Perspective

Kent and I chose to do a two-part posting on character. In this second part, we discuss how character matters in our roles as citizens and in our elected leaders.

The timing could not be better, or more desperate, depending on your perspective.

The muddled mess that is the Trump administration is a ‘character’ study in character, or the lack thereof.

For those of you who’ve been sleeping under a rock or mesmerized by the latest episodes of Basket Weaving with the Stars No One Remembers, the President has demonstrated a remarkable lack of character, Presidential or otherwise.

First, he tweets:
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism! 6:35 AM – 4 Mar 2017

This, of course, ignites a firestorm of outrage by his supporters. I expected to see hordes mobbing the streets, armed with pitchforks and torches, screaming “Kill the beast.”

On the other, more rational, side were those troubled by such a serious allegation. Concerned that the President must have evidence to back up such a charge. Anyone of character would before making such a claim.

But no, there was no evidence presented. None offered to Congress, the Justice department, or Breitbart Media.

Not even a smidgen of evidence courtesy of the Kremlin.


A President of the United States publicly accused the former President of the United States of a crime, a serious crime, without one iota of evidence.

What does that say about the character of this man?

Character requires several elements. Embracing the truth, working for the common good, courage to face difficult situations, and a willingness to admit, and learn, from one’s errors.

The behavior of this President over these first months of his administration shows he possesses none of them.

On the other hand, former President Obama, despite being accused of a crime without any basis in fact, has remained calm and reserved. Offering a limited response to deny the allegation and demonstrating a maturity of character by not engaging in a juvenile pissing contest.

At a time in history when the character of our leaders is most critical, we are led by a man divested of character, hostile to the truth, and divorced from reality.

Now, those who support Trump, among whom I am certain are many of good character, have latched onto the statement by the Chairman of the Intelligence committee. He said that some of Trump’s associates, and perhaps Trump himself, had communication intercepted “legally” and “incidentally” in a criminal investigation.

Based on some mysterious information he and no one else on the committee received from some unidentified source.

They see this as a vindication of the President’s tweet. See, they shout, he was right. They did monitor him.

They have a strange concept of vindication. It reflects a serious flaw in character. It is as if a video surfaced of members of the Manson crime family emerging from Sharon Tate’s home, drenched in blood. Charlie Manson then announces look I told you I wasn’t there.

Strange vindication indeed. What does it say about one’s character that you would embrace a falsehood and be reassured by the existence of a criminal investigation?

One’s true character is not something you can conceal very long. It shows itself in your actions despite claims you make to the contrary.  We can only hope there are members of Congress and within the Justice department who possess a strong and honest character.

The character of the American people, while imperfect, has always found a way to face the truth. Sometimes kicking and screaming, sometimes leading the way. We can hold onto hope that soon someone of character will occupy the office of the Presidency.

Although I hoped never to hear these words in my lifetime again, we look forward to a new President say, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over….”


8 Responses to Character, Citizenship, and Leadership: Joe’s Perspective

  1. Peggy says:

    After Margaret Mary’s funeral I came home and was sitting on my porch thinking about Margaret Mary and I wanted to knw that she was ok and had made it home. I asked for a sign. Maybe a dove flying by and I thought the most I would get would be a white pigeon that I see all the time, but that didn’t happen. I forgot about those thoughts until 2 days later I woke up and walked into my kitchen and sitting on my table was a small plastic white dove. I live alone and I never said anything to anyone about my request. Was it an Angel who delivered the sign to me, I don’t know but it made me feel better knowing that she had made it home. If you have an explanation for how the Dove was on my table I would welcome it. The sign gave me comfort


    • There are always things the seem to defy explanation. As I said in my piece, when people are in the midst of a suffered loss small things can take on enormous meaning. My issue with people “believing” in Angels is more of a practical nature. Much time, effort, and resources are expended “worshiping” a specific god (dependent on one’s geography or upbringing) and defending that choice from all the others. In some cases, actively seeking to destroy differing beliefs. That is my point.
      I am certain that Angels of the type described in texts like the Bible or Quoran do not exist. However, what happens to the fundamental element of life when the body dies is still unknown. No one has ever offered a believable or remotely verifiable explanation.
      The fact that you sought out a sign then found what you were looking for does not mean an Angel appeared, it means as I said in the piece, the human mind will go to extraordinary lengths to protect itself and relieve pain. It is just as likely the dove was always there, just not as noticeable or put there by someone who knew it would bring comfort. Always look for the simplest explanation (Occam’s Razor) rather than an explanation you might find more comforting. Do Angels exist? I don’t think anyone can be 100% certain, but one can be certain enough that the evidence would tend to show they do not. Most actions attributed to Angels eventually are explained.
      Here’s my best argument. Of all the people I have met in my life, Margaret Mary would be the top of the list for those qualified for the status of Angel.
      And, assuming for arguments sake she is one, I would have received an equally meaningful sign in the form of a slap in the back of the head or kick in the ass. Angels as an element of faith (hope) for evidence of an afterlife are harmless enough, when kept personal. But I don’t see too many believers hurling themselves off bridges in the hope that an angel will catch them.
      As to what really happens at the point of death….remains (no pun intended) to be seen.


  2. Peggy says:

    And some day when you least expect it you will receive that slap in the back of the head.


  3. bruce says:

    your explanation of the Anthropic Principle is a self-defeating concept.
    to say the universe exists because we perceive means we must first exist to perceive but we are part of it so if we don’t first exist to perceive it we can’t exist to perceive it. Now this paradox could digress infinitely if actual infinities could possibly exist but according to big bang cosmology actual infinities can not exist.


  4. Kent Harrop says:

    Hi Joe, a few comments on Religion and Politics? piece. Good writing. Well reasoned. A few comments. You suggest that most religious folk would outlaw abortion. I’d counter that many may have moral issues with abortion but also are pro-choice and believe strongly in the woman’s right to control her body (I’d put myself in this category). Regarding ‘many would want to dilute’ the separation of church and state, I’d counter that a significant % are supportive. I’d have to research the numbers but many if not most see the need for the First Amendment, it’s only the vocal Religious Right (who are an overall minority of religious voters) who take issue with the First Amendment. They have the loudest microphone but don’t represent the views of the majority in the various faith traditions.


    • I agree that there is a variety of opinion regarding the pro-choice argument. My concern is with the vocal, if minority, religious who clamor to impose their religious based morality on secular matters.
      Some would equate secular with amorality. I would argue that secular morality is equal to, if not superior, to any faith based morality. Perhaps it’s time for the “silent majority” of religious to support a discussion of the proper place for religion is in the privacy of ones thoughts and places of worship


      • Kent Harrop says:

        There are several groups that lobby for protection of the First Amendment for all religions and from religion. A source I like is the Baptist Joint Committee which advocates effectively for separation of church and state and the rights of the religious and non religious. Their site:

        Liked by 1 person

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