The topic for this week’s installment of the Next Generation weekly update is a simple word – integritas.
Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy, in that integrity regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.
… Integrity is the inner sense of “wholeness” deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, one may judge that others “have integrity” to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold.
Integrity was one of the lessons I learned from my Mom and Dad, and the U.S. Army reinforced that lesson. Once one loses a sense of integrity, it is quite hard, almost impossible, to regain that respect of character and honor. I teach my daughters the basic lesson that character means doing what is right when no one is watching. That is how one builds a reputation of impeccable character.
As my own military career progressed, I expressed to junior officers the importance of integrity as a foundation of success in a leader and a unit. One comment that officers always wanted to see on their evaluation reports was “possesses integrity beyond reproach.” Not seeing that comment would be a downer.
However, as we ponder our problem in America, I see a lack of integrity as a cultural norm that is a major contributing factor.
A disturbing lack of electoral integrity
Consider Melowese Richardson, the Hamilton County (Cincinnati, Ohio) poll worker of 25 years who has been accused of voter fraud. She admitted voting by absentee ballot and at a precinct. Her response: “I, after registering thousands of people, certainly wanted my vote to count. So I voted; I voted at the poll.”
The greater issue is that Richardson not only voted twice herself, she also did so for her granddaughter, India. But that was not the end. Richardson also cast absentee ballots for Montez Richardson, Joseph Jones and Markus Barron.
When asked if she would fight these charges, Richardson said, “Absolutely, I’ll fight it for Mr. Obama and for Mr. Obama’s right to sit as president of the United States.”
Amazing! Richardson’s individual lack of integrity resulted in a lack of integrity in our electoral process. More disturbing is the complete lack of a sense of wrongdoing. Basically for Richardson, the end justified the means.
And where is the integrity in our attorney general to investigate this blatant case of voter fraud? Perhaps his lack of integrity will result in the same outcome as with the 2008 case where New Black Panthers intimidated voters by standing watch outside polls in Philadelphia with clubs. They were not punished.
See, this lack of integrity resulting in voter fraud is a prime example of voter suppression. How many presidential votes for Mitt Romney were canceled last fall by such behavior? How many Americans who possess integrity beyond reproach saw their votes rendered meaningless in 2012?
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