2020 Election: Anyone for President?

Most of us have heard as children that anyone can grow up to be President of the United States. Well, that dream, or nightmare became true depending upon your viewpoint of the current administration.

Later this year Americans will elect the 46th President of the United States. This commentary is not to debate whether the current president, Donald J. Trump is fit for the office or should be or not be re-elected. Unlike social media and even mainstream media, I believe Americans can make their own determination. This commentary is about answering the question on character.

What is Character?

We cannot hide underneath a weighted blanket praying that as sunrise greets us on Wednesday, November 4th, 2020 that we made the right choice. All elections, not just this election must make a case for character.

Dictionary.com defines character simply as “the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person, moral or ethical quality.”

The CharactorCounts.Org website: “The Six Pillars of Character® are the core ethical values of CHARACTER COUNTS! These values were identified by a nonpartisan, nonsectarian (secular) group of youth development experts in 1992 as “core ethical values that transcend cultural, religious and socioeconomic differences.”

The Six Pillars of Character® are:

1. Trustworthiness – This trait is more complicated than simply being deceptive.

a. Honesty
b. Integrity
c. Reliability (promise-keeping)
d. Loyalty

2. Respect – The Golden Rule

a. Civility, Courtesy and Decency
b. Dignity and Autonomy
c. Tolerance and Acceptance

3. Responsibility – The ability to respond to expectations.

a. Accountability
b. Pursuit of Excellence
c. Self-Restraint

4. Fairness – A balance standard of justice.

a. Process
b. Impartiality
c. Equity

5. Caring – An honest expression of altruism.

6. Citizenship – Community behavior by giving more than what is taken.

The website explains that these 6 pillars are ethical values that are to guide an individual’s choice. As the CharacterCounts.Org website further explains these “values constitute the ground rules of ethics, and therefore of ethical decision-making.”  Just on face value we see how a case for character in selecting our choice for any leadership role or elected office is a test that must be given to each candidate. I strongly recommend visiting this link to the CharacterCounts.org website https://charactercounts.org/program-overview/sixpillars/med-sample/ for further study on the pillars of character and the education being offered at CharacterCounts.org.

The Case for Character

We cannot look at another’s character even a candidate for the President of the United States without first examining at our own. The current corporate trend is bias training for the workforce. The lesson here is everyone has hidden bias. As one who has completed bias training, I believe our country would be well-served if bias training become a required class for high school seniors, GED students, and offered at adult education community centers.

The divide in this country is not because of one person, one political party, one anything for that matter. However, the fostering of individual bias and outright hatred of certain groups or persons has become more prevalent as technology has run away with our good senses. We have become a society that has an inability to resist reacting to every social media post or tweet (me included, but I am working on it) irrespective of who is doing the posting or tweeting.

Who bears the responsibility of the division in the United States?

We all do. Individually and collectively, our character is in question.

The HuffPost published an article originally written by Nick Robins-Early on 11/22/16 and updated 11/27/16, “How to Recognize a Fake News Story.

I strongly encourage you to read the article, but here it is in a nutshell:

Fake News Story

We have not learned much since 2016, have we?

First, the article recommends that we resist reacting when we immediately see, hear or read anything without giving it our full due diligence. Secondly, let’s pause and consider there is more to the story that what is being reported. Thirdly, as I suggest, we ask reasonable questions without bias and determine the character of those involved in every aspect of the information being shared – political, professional or personal.

Most people (including myself at times) have an attention span of a gnat. Learn to read first, resist reaction, and ask reasonable questions. I am learning to check myself first and I hope you will too the next time there is an urge to react.

Who can dramatically improve the ethical quality of our lives?

All humans are imperfect and therefore our candidates are imperfect. Character, I believe is the one trait we can all agree on and I hope without regard to a person’s (or candidate’s) socioeconomic background, age, gender, gender-identity, ethnicity, faith or absence thereof. Not only can we dramatically improve the ethical quality of our lives but those who we elect in leadership roles and to public office.


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