Recent Character Commentaries

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The Way Forward, Conclusion: Where We Need to Be
Moral courage is a rare commodity, rarer still today. Those who stand up—frequently alone—to shine a light on corruption, deceit, and discrimination at the risk of their reputations and livelihoods are worthy of admiration. Republican representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, singer-songwriters Joni Mitchell and Neil Young, football coach Brian Flores—all have gone it alone in standing against reprehensible behavior,...
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February 4, 2022
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Worth Remembering
“You see George, you’ve really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?”— Clarence the angel, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It’s a Wonderful Life has become a staple during the holiday season, (except for those addicted to the Hallmark Channel). George Bailey is a good and decent man with family...
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November 24, 2021
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America’s Character
Revisiting Jon Meacham’s book, The Soul of America, I was struck by a quote by historian and civil rights activist, W.E.B. Dubois. Writing in Black Reconstruction in America, Dubois observes, “Back of the writing, yelling, cruel-eyed demons who break, destroy, maim and lynch and burn at the stake, is a knot, large or small, of normal human beings, and these...
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November 5, 2021
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Colin Powell on Leadership
Years ago, General Colin Powell was asked “How would you define the key characteristics of effective leadership that would allow you to be an advocate for good? Powell didn’t hesitate, “Trust.” “The longer I have been in public service, more people are asking about leadership over the years. Leadership? It ultimately comes down to creating conditions of trust within an organization....
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October 29, 2021
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“A Tower of Strength and Common Sense”
That’s what Harry Truman said of Gen. George C. Marshall–a characterization that easily applies to Gen. Colin L. Powell. You won’t find a picture of Colin Powell next to Leadership in the dictionary, but you should. You also won’t find him alongside Merriam-Webster’s definition of a Statesman, but no one can deny that Powell was “a wise, skillful, and respected...
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October 26, 2021
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The Insiders
Jeffrey Wigand and Frances Haugen have two things in common. Both blew the whistle on impropriety within their respective companies, and both appeared on the news show, 60 Minutes to tell their stories. At the social media company, Facebook, Haugen—with a degree in computer engineering, and a master’s degree in business from Harvard—has 15 years experience in the computer world...
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October 8, 2021
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“He is the Fire Department”
Remembering 9/11, we tend to remember the whole event rather than the personal stories. More than 2,753 individuals died in New York City, Shanksville, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon that day. New York suffered the loss of 343 firefighters. One of them was 42-year veteran First Deputy Fire Commissioner William Feehan. It was reported that Feehan was so knowledgeable that he...
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September 10, 2021
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The Questions We Need to Ask Ourselves
“How can we love our country and not love our countrymen? And loving them, reach out a hand when they fall, heal them when they’re sick, and provide opportunities to make them self-sufficient so they will be equal in fact and not just in theory.” —Ronald Reagan Disinformation, disfunction, violence, a deadly virus, vaccination deniers, climate deniers, wildfires, hurricanes, floods....
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September 7, 2021
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The Character We Had; The Character We Need Again
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of character these days; the kind of character where individuals choose principle over expediency; who stand up for what’s right rather than give into fear or worse, silence. What we know of the Greek philosopher Socrates comes from his greatest student, Plato. Socrates believed that “to know the good is to do the...
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July 23, 2021
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Fact, Fiction and Adam Kinzinger
Adam Kinzinger is a committed conservative. However, that commitment does not extend to supporting Donald Trump and his Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen and that Vice-President Mike Pence had the power to throw out votes when the electoral votes were being certified in the Capitol on January 6. Kinzinger calls the obsequiousness by Republicans to Trump, “capitulating...
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July 6, 2021