Using the six pillars of character to choose our next president.
The foundation of any free and virtuous society is the moral character of its people. Personal responsibility, integrity, and the other values which define our unique American spirit underpin our system of self-government and inspire us to continue working toward a more perfect Union.
— President Donald J. Trump in proclamation of National Character Counts Week
President Trump proclaimed the week of October 18 through October 24 as National Character Counts Week. His remarks in the proclamation would be very inspiring if they were written by practically anyone else. I find it ironic that he is speaking about the virtue of character while he epitomizes the exact opposite daily.
“We are not going to have a president that goes out of the way to insult anybody who does not support him, or threatens them with jail. That is not normal presidential behavior. We would not tolerate it from a high school principal. We would not tolerate it from a coach or a coworker…why are folks making excuses for that, ‘well, that’s just him.’ No! There are consequences to these actions”. — Former President Barack Obama
I’m very familiar with Character Counts. My children learned the six pillars of Character Counts in elementary school. Their school and school district did an excellent job of weaving the pillars into various curriculum areas. The school also used the pillars as foundations for awards.
In the last few days, I have watched parts of multiple Trump rallies. I shouldn’t be surprised by anything the president says these days. However, I’m an optimist, and I hope he will remember that he is the president. Would it be too much to ask that he act like one?
“Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the vaccine, die from the flu … we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal.”
— President Donald J. Trump
Trustworthiness — Be honest in communications and actions.
I could pick many examples of President Trump’s lack of trustworthiness, including the above quote, downplaying the virus with incorrect information. He is on tape admitting that he lied about the threat of the coronavirus. According to one journalist, he entered the first debate with a mountain of lies. He seems to make up lies as he goes and doesn’t stop to consider the consequence.
I don’t think he is worried about being caught in lies. He has convinced all his followers that ALL news is fake news, and all fact-checking sites are biased. His supporters don’t bother to check his statements' accuracy since they don’t believe any sources.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is well-known for speaking the truth. As speculation began regarding his presidential run in 2016, his honesty was both a strength and a detriment as it could get him into trouble at times.
Biden has built his lengthy political career on a foundation of honesty and likeability. His honesty is a recognized quality, and current polls view him as more honest than Trump.
Respect — Treat others with respect and follow the Golden Rule.
Biden is so well-respected and admired by his colleagues that he has eulogized Republican and Democratic politicians. While Trump spends time name-calling on Twitter, Biden has recently tweeted about the importance of coming together and treating others with respect.
Trump is very well-known for name-calling. He assigns demeaning nicknames so often there is a Trump Nicknames Wikipedia page. The president has called Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’ and his opponent, ‘Sleepy Creepy Joe.’ Trump apparently missed the Golden Rule instruction during kindergarten. The president also refuses to learn the pronunciation of Kamala Harris’ name and continues to mispronounce it.
Responsibility — Set a good example for others.
Trump could have gained a lot of respect at the beginning of the pandemic if he had simply set a good example and supported advisors' recommendations. Wearing a mask and social distancing shouldn’t be political symbols, but Trump refuses to follow these guidelines, even after catching the virus himself.
An essential act of responsibility as a president is to protect himself. Trump put the country in jeopardy when his refusal to follow guidelines caused him to contract the virus.
Displaying more responsibility than Trump is a low bar for Biden, but he still stands out as responsible. Biden has held socially distant drive-in campaign events with attendees remaining in their cars. On the other hand, Trump brags about his large campaign events, even though they have caused the spread of the virus.
Scientific American endorsed Biden on October 1st.
This endorsement was especially remarkable since it was the publication’s first endorsement in its 175-year history. The fact that Trump ignores science was a significant factor, but Scientific American also lauded Biden for his comprehensive plans to handle COVID-19 if he is elected.
Fairness— Treat all people fairly.
Donald Trump regularly belittles immigrants and women and has done little to address the unequal treatment of minorities. Trump also has a history of blaming victims, including victims of the Parkland and El Paso mass shootings.
Caring — Be compassionate and show you care.
The candidates are miles apart when it comes to caring and compassion. I will let their words demonstrate this.
“When I hear 200,000 deaths, I think of the empty chairs at dining room tables all across the country, which just months ago were filled by loved ones. It didn’t have to be this bad.” Joe Biden
“I learned so much about coronavirus and one thing that’s for certain — don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it.” Donald Trump
An even more significant lack of compassion came during the first presidential debate. When asked about the possibility of large campaign events spreading coronavirus, Trump said, “So far we’ve had no problems whatsoever.” I’m sure the family of Herman Cain would disagree if they were honest.
Citizenship — Obey laws and rules. — Respect authority.
The House of Representatives impeached the president for using the promise of military aid in exchange for a foreign government helping with his election. The president has also participated in campaign events from the Whitehouse, a clear violation of election laws.
Trump believes that the rules don’t apply to him, and he regularly demonstrates this. He has decided that he is the highest authority and refuses to respect other authorities' opinions, such as the CDC and NIH.
The president has accused Biden and his son Hunter of breaking the law. However, the president’s party found no evidence of wrongdoing. Biden has spent his entire adult life in public service. Biden has been respectful and has proven his dedication to our country.
The election is less than two weeks away. This is possibly the most important presidential election ever. Vote for the candidate who has the most character.