Recent Character Commentaries

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“A Clear and Present Danger,” Judge J. Michael Luttig
The House select committee investigating the attack on the Capitol on January 6 is expected to hear testimony from three top Department of Justice officials on Trump’s push to overturn 2020 election results within the department. I will be live-tweeting at 3:00pm EST and 12:00pm PST: @jimlichtman This is subject to any time change. After the third installment of the...
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June 21, 2022
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We Are Americans
Character is a word that’s rarely used today; rarer still is finding leaders who demonstrate character. But there are a few. Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, against their party’s wishes, chose to participate in an investigation into the causes of the January 6, 2020 insurrection. It takes character and courage to choose principle over politics. Where would we be...
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May 13, 2022
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And The Four Others Who Stand Up For Democracy
The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award is distinguished by a ship’s lantern. “The lantern elicits immediate recognition and evokes the shared cultural symbols of light and truth,” designer Edwin Schlossberg says. “Light is the beacon of warning, of safety, of hope in the wilderness. A lantern symbolizes the search for an honest man. It lights a dark path,...
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April 29, 2022
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Profiles in Courage
In 1877, Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar, a former distinguished Confederate officer, was the hugely popular Democratic Senator from Mississippi. So revered for his commitment to duty and integrity that a Washington reporter said of Lamar, “he would be a conspicuous personality anywhere, with a character and quality of his own.” Lamar was now faced with an impossible choice in the...
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April 26, 2022
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What Makes a Leader?
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” — John Maxwell, American clergyman Liz Cheney is smart, disciplined, honest and fearless. A rock-sold Republican from Wyoming, Cheney is one of only two House Republicans who sit on the House panel investigating the January 6 insurrection. Adam Kinzinger is the other. However, it is...
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April 12, 2022
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What Will Smith Should Do First
“We judge ourselves by our best intentions, our most noble acts, our most virtuous habits. But we are judged by out last worst act.” — Michael Josephson Actor Will Smith’s actions at last Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony was precedent setting inexcusable. Reacting to a joke by comedian Chris Rock about Smith’s wife, Smith stepped on stage and slapped the comedian....
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April 1, 2022
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Their Darkest Hour
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill While many have compared Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to England’s Winston Churchill– England’s wartime prime minister who inspired the British people in their darkest hour–another man became a different kind of hero in the face of overwhelming odds. Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest...
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March 8, 2022
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Something We All Need
In it’s February 28th edition, TIME magazine highlighted “19 Kids Changing the World.” On the cover, Kid of the Year, eleven-year-old Orion Jean, “Ambassador for Kindness.” Academy Award-winning actor and special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees recently interviewed Jean. Here are some highlights from the conversation. “When the pandemic began,” Orion began, “I saw a lot of...
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March 1, 2022
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The Liberal Republican
Sometimes, those who have contributed mightily to their country slip below history’s radar. John Gilbert Winant was one of them. After serving two terms as the Republican Governor of New Hampshire, Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt tapped Winant to be the first head of the Social Security Board. While Republican colleagues called him “a Republican New Dealer,” Winant’s work so impressed...
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February 18, 2022
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What Matters Most
With an looming invasion in Ukraine, mandate protests, near-total dysfunction in Washington, it’s nice to know that there are volunteers who are willing to be there when needed. This story is likely one of thousands repeated every day that demonstrate the power of citizenship . . . even in tough times. As reported by Steve Hartman for CBS News. “When...
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February 15, 2022