Wanted: Character in the leadership of the United States

Author’s note: I moved to Honey Brook nearly four years ago. I have been “officially a senior citizen” for nearly two years and have never been involved in politics, but I am extremely worried where our country is going thanks to the political shenanigans within our country. I realize that neither party has all the answers and that a main reason why our country is so great is the differences in people who make up the United States. Over the next several weeks I would like reflect on several characteristics that we need to concentrate on in our election of political leaders.

This week, I will begin by look at ‘One who is God Fearing’ and ‘Integrity’

One who is God Fearing - Amendment #1 to the Constitution reads “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion.” This is not saying that religion is evil and should not exist. Rather, it is saying that there shall not be a “national religion” (think where our founding fathers came from). Unfortunately, over the centuries since our founding, man has tried to water this amendment down to suit his own pompous needs.

“If it feels good, then do it,” some say. “I don’t need a God in our country because I want to do what tickles my fancy and what gives me instant gratification” or “I don’t believe in God.”

Let’s for a moment say that you are wrong. What do you gain or lose? In Genesis, it tells how God brought (should be brought) his wrath upon the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their vice and their sins by burning the towns and those who lived there. Previous to their destruction, some compared these towns to the Garden of Eden because they were well watered, green and suitable for grazing of the livestock. Oh, what abundance the United States of America has been given compared to most other countries of the world. Could it be because many of our founding fathers felt like George Washington when he said in his farewell address in 1796:

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them”.

As many of us who have been following the political process know, the party in power tried to write-out “God” in its party platform. Why is this and where is this taking us? Is it just one more step away from God and closer to Sodom and Gomorrah?

Integrity - One way Webster defines integrityas: “a firm adherence to a code or standard of values”. This is a fine start. However, someone who does not have integrity may say to himself: “I have integrity because I have (my own) set of values that I follow.” Unfortunately, this is true not only in presidential candidates, but in many of our politicians who are at various levels. And why is this? It is for the simple reason that our political leaders are fallible like the rest of the electorate.

In examining the word integrity, I found one definition as: “when we satisfy ourselves, we satisfy all, including God”. I would like to think that our political leaders would have a much better and truthful saying of: “When we satisfy God, we will satisfy ourselves”. However, you and I know that this is not true. Why is integrity so hard to claim as a way of life? I call it the Me First Syndrome. As a preschooler, our family had a book called: Me First. The main character was shown on the cover and throughout the book. It was just a head that looked similar to a smiley face but it was always frowning. The character always wanted the best of everything before anybody else, and he was never happy. Little did I know at that age how insightful that book was.

I’m sure each one of us could cite enough examples of the Me First Syndrome to fill a book or a set of books. Remember, this did not start with our current politicians. It has been going on for centuries. I’d like to address some examples. If a political leader can “bring home the bacon” (in this case enrich our district or state), he can be re-elected (change to re-elected) no matter what measure of integrity he has. Marion Berry, former mayor of Washington DC, spent six months in federal prison after being arrested for smoking crack cocaine (back then it seemed like being involved with drugs was much more serious) in 1990. He subsequently was re-elected mayor of DC. Also, there is the history of the Nixon administration as well as the moral boundaries that Bill Clinton trampled for his own self-gratification.

We are the ones who vote politicians into office. Each one of us should be looking in the mirror to check on our integrity and make sure that those whom we elect have a high level of integrity.

Jeff Hall has lived in Delaware and Chester counties most of his life, the last four years in Honey Brook. He worked for a large retail food chain in the Risk Management function and retired from a position of Property Insurance Broker from a consulting firm. He is a practicing Christian who enjoys reading and writing and is concerned with the direction the country is headed.

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