Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Under the magnifying glass

No doubt the issue of character is before us on a daily basis. Our own, and reports of everyone elses! Some decisions we make are very cut and dried in our mind when it comes to what's right and wrong. Other decisions may be more problematic to sort out.

Most everyone wants to be viewed as having a high level of moral character. Words which claim our high integrity are easily spoken. However, when one digs below the surface they may find our integrity lacking.

Our news reports are full of stories of character-related issues. Today we learned that some of Obama's nominees for cabinet positions withdrew their names due to questions about their honesty in declaring income and taking deductions over the past few years. When the magnifying glass was placed over their tax returns, it was brought to the attention of the world that some things had been omitted, tweaked, minimized, etc. With most Americans wanting to see our government leadership conducting themselves at a higher level of honesty, this is not good news. Each political party wants to point fingers at the other side, but it seems to be indicative of the whole spectrum of public servants no matter what their ideology.

I have to ask....with so many people without adequate healthcare, what kind of person do we want heading the Health and Human Services Department? With multiple natural disasters in our country over the past five years, what kind of person would be most effective leading a department overseeing these misfortunes?

There is something to be said for a leader not only saying they are passionate about an issue, but living in a way that demonstrates it and attracts others to follow their lead. Leaders who connect in a tangible way to the people they serve are usually the most effective in achieving their goals and bringing others on board to serve enthusiastically alongside them. Leadership often involves sacrifice and denial of personal fame and fortune in order to bring advancement to those who need it. Our comfort levels are often challenged. There are no shortcuts to good leadership. Honesty and humility in service energizes people and builds trust for the road ahead.

Given what happened today, I wonder if the nominees feel it was worth it to declare less income and take deductions which were questionable. Did the revelation of their actions build a higher level of trust and connect them to the populace they serve?

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