Recent Character Commentaries

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What Republicans Can Do To Salvage Their Immortal Souls
He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it, is really cooperating with it. —Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. What should Republicans do to save themselves and the country? They should begin by listening to former vice-president Mike Pence. “President Trump asked...
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August 3, 2023
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Character? What’s That?
“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”—Edmund Burke, Anglo-Irish statesman, and philosopher. Two simple questions with no easy answers. Why do so many tolerate dishonesty, incivility, irresponsibility, and a profound lack of character in far too many individuals, particularly leaders? Why do so many choose...
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July 14, 2023
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It’s Time.
In 1940, journalist Edward R. Murrow stood in a church in England while the country endured German bombers night after night. Inside the church was a crudely written sign which read, “If your knees knock, kneel on them.” It’s time for Americans to get up off their knees and fight. Like a hamster on a wheel, we’ve become stuck going...
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May 16, 2023
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What is Character?
April 10: At least five people were killed in a shooting at a bank in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. March 27: A heavily armed assailant shot and killed three children and three adults at a private Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee. March 29: Eleven people were shot, one fatally, at two separate crime scenes in Memphis, Tennessee. February 17: In...
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April 14, 2023
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What America Needs Most
In the face of near-impossible odds, George Washington–tasked with leading his relatively untrained, beaten-down, militiamen demoralized by the deaths of 2,000 from disease–ultimately turned the tide with his victory over the British at the battle of Princeton. How did he succeed in his greatest test of character and courage? Washington’s unequivocal moral integrity earned him the trust of his men...
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April 11, 2023
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April 15, 1947
At the end of the month, 30 teams will step out of the dugout to begin another season of Major League Baseball. Thirty rookies are among them. Seventy-six years ago, a rookie stepped out of the dugout and into history. His name was Jack Roosevelt Robinson. In a conversation for my book, What Do You Stand For? documentarian Ken Burns...
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March 7, 2023
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“What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Violence, upheaval throughout much of the world, what would Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi, the father of nonviolent resistance, say? This week marks the 75th anniversary of Gandhi’s death at the hands of an assassin on his way to a prayer service in Delhi. While Gandhi was an anti-colonialist who practiced and taught his followers non-violent resistance to deal with injustice, Gandhi...
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February 3, 2023
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Mr. Smith is Back!
Here’s what I like about politicians. Every once in a while, we get heroes—people who stand up for what’s right and good and best not just for the people back home, but the entire country. Margret Chase Smith, the Republican Senator from Maine, was such a hero when she stood up against the lies and tactics of her Senate colleague,...
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January 17, 2023
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Memo to Democrats: Don’t Gloat
Note: On assignment, but I’ll be back! No high-fives. No victory laps. No champagne room. You’re not out of the woods, yet. Watching Democratic leadership win back the Senate, you’d think they had won the Super Bowl. They didn’t. What we all won was a return to democracy, and a keen sense that most Americans don’t want to hand over...
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November 15, 2022
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Stand for What’s Right!
Integrity: firm adherence to a code of moral values—uprightness. A rap star spouts antisemitic and anti-Black remarks and refuses to apologize. A basketball star apologizes for antisemitic remarks only after he was suspended for his actions. A Supreme Court Justice will not step aside from legal decision-making on any issue brought before the court regarding the 2020 election involving the...
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November 7, 2022