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….”