What has happened to integrity? In order for us to understand the implications involved in the use of this word, we look to the dictionary. Integrity is “uncompromising adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” [The Free Dictionary] Immediately we find ourselves in a dilemma when it comes to defining the words “moral” and “ethical.” The dilemma is that in America today we no longer have a universal definition of the words “moral” and “ethical.”
Moral principles need to be based upon an objective unchanging standard but in today’s society that standard keeps changing because our morality is relative and subjective with individuals and groups setting their own standards which often clash with those of other individuals and groups. Ethical principles usually find their basis in moral standards and the impact of today’s fluctuating morality creates conflicting ethical standards putting individuals and groups at odds with each other. We face the same conflict with the words “soundness of moral character” found in the definition of integrity.
My suggestion is that a person of integrity holds to an “uncompromising adherence...[to] honesty.” Here are some ways people are dishonest: Some of the ways people are dishonest are:
their silence in the face of a lie. Knowing something is not true, especially
about another person, and not speaking up is helping propagate
2. By attempting to create the truth as opposed to discovering truth. In this scenario, the truth is what we say it is.
3. By telling people what they want to hear. This way truth is whatever makes people happy.
4. By hypocritical actions. Acting in a way that is designed to hide the truth.
5. By speaking deceitfully or evasively. This takes place when we attempt to define and use words so as to create an image that is not true.
What we need in America is men and women of integrity. We need Republicans, Democrats, Independents who speak and act with integrity. We need media people – news reporters, newspaper writers to speak with integrity not trying to shade the news to advance their agendas and preconceived ideas. We need government officials at all levels – federal, state, local community to be honest with their constituents and not use their position wrongfully. We need individuals who are willing to stand up and say I was wrong when they were wrong and stand for the truth regardless of the consequences when they are right. The list goes on sports people, business leaders, educators, etc. need to be people of integrity.
Who is going to be the first person to stand up and say, I have not been a person of integrity but beginning today you can count on me to honest in what I report or what I say about another person. Anyone ready to be first to return to being a person of integrity?
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