The death of integrity

Several years ago when I worked at Pyxis Corporation, an item on a self review was the self determination of your integrity. In as far as work was concerned, I felt then and still do that I had tons of integrity in the workplace. My manager at the time was a back-stabbing little troll of a woman that would just as soon blame you for an issue that she caused while sitting in a meeting with a client – as you learned there was an issue!

I digress.

During the first self-evaluation with my new manager, I had marked myself a five on the scale of 1-5 for integrity – because I felt that I had the most integrity of all my team members. I never took time off while I was working on a project. I was incredibly honest with my clients, sometimes to my own detriment. I took all responsibility for the project, despite issues that arose from other people or corporate!

In any event, she told me that she changed it to a three because “you either have integrity or you don’t.” To which I commented that it shouldn’t be a gradient scale and asked her how dare she question my integrity, when she knew that I had more integrity in my pinkie than she did in her entire body!

I tell you that to tell you this: I watch what is happening in our world at the hands of the current occupant of the White House – he is constantly tweeting lies, proclaiming actions that never happened, or denying that he grabbed women by the genitals. The integrity of the office of the president has fallen to a historic low. His approval ratings are an indication of how far down the integrity of the most powerful office in the world has fallen.

The sharp slide downward may not have begun with the Nixon administration, but its end point certainly has reached a new low in the Trump administration and you have to wonder how we have fallen so far so quickly. Together with Congress members, the current occupant stirred up a load of bull about Obama and his birth certificate. His skin color offended them and they did nothing for the greater good of America while he was in office. So much of the Republican’s obstructionism brought us the current occupant.

I blame reality TV. That’s what Trump brought to the table: visibility to a set of Americans that only watch Fox News and reality TV. (I don’t like to generalize, but I’ve watched this firsthand.) I stopped watching TV almost 10 years ago. I don’t care about Kim Kardashian or any of her ilk. I barely know what’s on TV these days. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know what’s going on in the world because I am a news junkie and have been a political news junkie since Mitt Romney made his 47% comments. He awoke in me an anger that had me off the sidelines and into the world of arguing with my friends and relatives who refused to see the truth.

They still don’t and I’ve wasted my breath.

Think about it; we had an election that was more scripted for TV than it was about policy. Hillary Clinton is a policy wonk. I know the type. They sit up at nights reading policy and bills – I know, I’ve done the same thing!

She tried to introduce policy – actions that would help the country. In Trump, we had vague promises to build a wall to keep Mexicans and other North American Latinos from crossing into our country.

I’ve read much about the impact that such a wall would have, both environmentally and from a trade agreement perspective. Doing so could have a tremendous impact on existing trade agreements with Mexico, but reality has no place in the scripted horror-comedy that is the current occupant’s administration.

That doesn’t include the cost of the wall. There are estimates between $15 to $25 billion just to build it and an estimated $750 million a year for the upkeep.

Even with George W. Bush, I never was as scared of my president as I am with the current occupant. Trump has signed a huge number of executive orders, some of which are unlawful and stopped by judges before they can be implemented. He stole a Supreme Court seat, thanks to Mitch McConnell. Of course the Democrats have much to blame in that – they should have insisted that Garland Merrick have a nomination hearing and should NOT have assumed Hillary would win. The arrogance in their lack of action is telling as well.

Now, the current occupant has bombed Afghanistan and launched missiles into Syria. He warned the Russians he was going to launch the missiles and that allowed them to move out of the area and look as if they were never there.

On top of all that, Trump has taken more golfing vacations in the first couple of months than Obama did in a year. The sad thing about that is Trump constantly berated Obama for taking any vacations. During the campaign, he said he’d prefer to stay in the White House and work. Apparently not.

We have all been duped – well, I haven’t because I’ve been screaming about the lack of integrity of this man for a few years now. He’s a liar and a crook. I didn’t vote for him. Now, as he works to defund the programs that actually help the people who elected him, I wonder if they finally see that he is screwing them over and the pain he inflicts now will be felt for years to come.

It’s been difficult living in South Georgia where the people vote Republican and then get mad when the government takes away their social security checks, their food stamps, or whatever else they may be receiving. No one seems to do any research and realize that it was their congressman who actually voted to reduce food stamps, voted against a raise in social security and disability checks.

Still, it’s more than just the facts that point to this death of integrity. Look at how Trump has handled criticism, or how he mangled history (Andrew Jackson as an example), or how he refused to shake the hand of Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.

These are just a small number of offenses by the current occupant. He hasn’t answered the call to release his taxes. He hasn’t answered questions about his ties to Russia. There are so many other important issues to discuss that we’d need all night to discuss them. However, if this commentary hasn’t prompted you to do your own research, then you aren’t paying attention.

Integrity is dying in America and it is prominent in our politics today. Most people recognize that politicians lie to get the vote, but the lies we’ve seen in 2016 and the moral standing in our country has been depleted with the current administration. We have the most corrupt administration ever and people think we are heading on the right path.

I had a conversation recently about the state of the world from a political standpoint. He told me, “I don’t pay attention to politics.”

I warned him that he and the youth of today need to pay attention because they are about to inherit a world that will be horribly screwed if they don’t.

Yes, we do need to make America great again. We can start that by recalling the current occupant and clean up the swamp he has created and change the idea that America was ever that great to begin with. We were on the right track, but the train has derailed and we are nowhere near able to get it back on its wheels without some serious inner reflection.

One response to “The death of integrity”

  1. Andrew J. DiNicola Avatar
    Andrew J. DiNicola

    Your impassioned voice and your scathing wit in this piece are the markers that I recall when thinking about the writing you did for us when you were an undergraduate at South Georgia State College. Moreover, I hear the voice of a man who truly does care about where this nation is headed in terms of its apparent loss of integrity and its disconcerting gains in moral turpitude. Indeed, I sometimes feel that the entire nation has become the subject of a reality show that plays out its episodes for the entire world. Unfortunately, the rest of the world is not amused; and, worse, it is beginning to look away in disgust and disbelief. I want to encourage you to keep writing. The remedy to the down sliding of America is to be found in the voices of reason and in the delivery of truth. Eventually—and I know this is the case because I have seen it happen many times in a classroom—a light of understanding flashes on in the minds of men and women, and this light becomes the catalyst for greatly positive personal changes. Yes, ignorance is debilitating and corrosive and even systemic, but integrity is infectious and proactive and even overwhelming. Keep the faith, “Young” man; keep your hand to the pen.

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