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Right Intention: Character and integrity still count

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Character and integrity still count

The election is finally history. The people of the United States have spoken, and they have done so in ways nobody anticipated. The buzz in the media is that moral values weighed heavier on the election result than many anticipated. How much of this sound byte we should believe is certainly open to question, given the track record of the media during this election. But should this be so surprising?. In between Los Angeles and New York, in what the coast-dwelling elite refer to as "flyover country", you will find much of America. People who go to church, people who don't believe that a woman's right to an abortion trumps the right of the unborn child, people of various faiths that consider the moral standing of the candidates they are presented with in the voting booth. It could be that the exit pollster's findings on the influence of "moral issues" is too narrowly interpreted. Perhaps character and integrity actually count to most of America, and it is this that ended up being considered in the voting booth.

Character should count. Character and integrity are the bedrock of leadership. You cannot lead without integrity; ultimately no one will follow. As a democrat that just voted for President Bush, I can say that in no uncertain terms my decision was heavily influenced by the candidates integrity and character, or lack thereof.

When I looked at President Bush, I didn't see what so many of my ultra-liberal friends saw. I saw a man who believed in his country and was willing and able to make tough decisions. Decisions that were, in his eyes, in the best interests of America. Decisions that were also, in many cases, very unpopular. I saw someone with clear beliefs, who could sometimes articulate them well and sometimes not so well. I saw someone that cared deeply about the people of this country and showed that caring by his actions. I saw someone that has one trait that even Democrats can't take issue with. He tells you what he believes, he tells you what he's going to do, and then he does it. Even if you don't like what he does, you can trust him to tell you and then deliver. This is worth a lot to me, and, evidently, to others.

When I looked at Senator Kerry, I didn't see this. I saw someone without the true convictions associated with clear beliefs. I saw someone that would say whatever people wanted to hear at the time. I saw someone that, in my perception, had a long career of putting his own ambitions first and everyone else, and this country, second. I saw someone that, at the end of the day, I couldn't trust.

The thought of a government dominated by the religious right certainly gives me pause for concern. But that concern is offset by the following wonderful, uplifting result: In America, character and integrity still count.

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