Character Counts

I spent the past week in the vicinity of our nation’s capitol. I was near enough that the stench settled on my location whenever the breeze was unfavorable. Fortunately, I did not have to enter politics’ den of iniquity.

I have seen a sizeable chunk of our world. My travels confirmed some things for me. One in particular. Politics is politics. No matter the location, it is clearly and sadly a profession for and of scoundrels. Tailor made for unchecked and even protected criminal activity. To confirm that, you only need to look at what happens when a potential anti-scoundrel approaches the near impregnable walls of national politics manned by legions of Roveshivicks.

I am convinced that any and I mean any type of government would work in the best interest of the governed if its politicians were men and women of character – if they were people we could trust to put the nation’s interest ahead of self-interest or political party interest. Unfortunately, that is why we must be governed by laws, not men. Even our founders conceded that our constitutional representative republic form of government would only work if led by men of character who governed by law rather than philosophical whims and self-interests. We are on the verge of self-annihilation because the character deficit in Washington is bigger than our budget deficit.

I was rummaging around in the Bunker the other day when I found an old stack of 5 by 7 index cards held together by a dry-rotted rubber band. They were covered with hand scribbled phrases and quotes that had meaning to me when I wrote them down. They were my advice cards. They still held meaning as I read them. They reminded me of a more sane time. It was a time when information did not come to me at light speed and I took time to contemplate it, digest it and think proactively about it. Now, I find myself being reactive to much of what I see, hear and read. This is probably exactly where the political class prefers that I stay – emotionally tied to an argument or glommed onto a personality rather than applying any depth of thought to them or their ideas. I expect that I am not alone.

One of my old advice cards captured my attention.

It takes ability to get to the top. It takes character to stay there.

I do not know who coined that pearl of wisdom. Ability implies competence and character implies positive personality traits such as honesty and selfless service. Sadly, the adage does not stand up when you consider the profession of scoundrels. Politicians require sparse ability beyond some oratory skill. At least that is what we appear to put most store into these days. Given that, they need only a slick public relations team and scriptwriters to keep them – or their teleprompters – on message. Ability in the form of competence to govern under the law of the land, the United States Constitution, appears neither necessary nor desirable. Their character? Sadly until they have proven it, their character is typically a work of fiction developed by their image builders and then further embellished by an unscrupulous press.

When we see someone trying to break in to the political club, he or she often has a proven record of ability with documented accomplishments. It is an ability record that stands scrutiny. That is why the political class always, without fail, attacks their character. The Washington Tidal Basin is filled with the hopes of men and women destroyed by character attacks built on innuendo and not proven allegations insinuating fatal character flaws. Character assassination is the mainstay of Washington politics these days and just like stupid Charlie Sheen like antics, we hang on every word until a potentially good leader for our nation can no longer stomach the slimy process and quits. We end up with charlatans in charge. Is it what we deserve?

Character assassination does not end with politics. It is a tool for those who want to destroy any person or entity when ability is established and proven. People who want to destroy our nation, too many from inside Washington politics, cannot contest the ability of our system to provide liberty and enable prosperity. Instead, they attack our national character through antics such as occupy Wall Street. They do that, by the way, with Ivy League indoctrinated rich kids who never worked for anything in their lives. The anti-military, also too many from inside Washington, cannot contest that our military is the most able on the planet. To bring it down, they constantly try to degrade the ability of the only entity that can ensure their freedom. More insidious than that however is their attack on its character. Isolated incidents are painted as representing the entire force or they try to change the character of the force through unchallenged social engineering. Left unchecked and with the help of allies inside the services, they will ultimately succeed. They will give us a military that is less able and whose character is strong on political correctness and short on what made our services the world’s best war fighting force. It will look like the rest of the country. Sadly.

Character counts.


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