Are you a person of integrity? Does it matter to you whether or not you are?
Here’s a casual definition of the word: integrity = honesty, moral rectitude and/or soundness.
When applied to a person it refers to a person’s soundness of character. If a person has integrity, he is a ‘man of his word,’ for example, or she is ‘sound and trustworthy.’ A person of integrity is true, transparent and dependable in his/her relationships with others, for example, neither a backbiter, nor a betrayer, nor a liar or a cheater.
A person of integrity is sound not only with respect to his/her relationship with others, but is sound with respect to his/her beliefs and convictions and seeks to live in a manner that is consistent with his/her principles and values.
In short, a person of integrity is…
- Is true to his word (say what you mean, mean what you say).
- Is reliable, consistent, dependable, and trustworthy.
- Is moderate, reasonable, balanced; is teachable and correctable.
- Is neither stubborn nor close-minded, neither proud nor arrogant, neither recalcitrant nor intractable; is humble.
- Is non-secretive or deceptive but open, transparent, and rightly accountable.
- Is respectful and considerate of others beyond his/her own circle of friends and connections.
- Is fair and just toward all, especially the powerless, disenfranchised, oppressed, and abused.
- Is as concerned for right processes as for right ends (the ends do not justify the means).
- Is purposeful, doing what is good, right, and beneficial, adding value and building community rather than undermining and destroying it.
Integrity matters. If a thing is sound and whole, is dependable, and true to its purpose, it has integrity. It works as it is meant to work and does what it’s meant to do. It is good.
If a nation is to be sound and strong it too must have integrity. But a nation’s integrity is no better than its people. It matters whether or not you and I are persons of integrity—at home, in school, at work, or in our judicial and political chambers. How we conduct personal and public business, how we make decisions—as to motive, purpose, and desired outcomes, matters. We should always ask ourselves, “Does this have integrity?”
How much integrity do we have in the present politics of our economic decision making process that’s going on right now? What are the true motives behind the stalemate? Are our politicians really concerned for what’s best for this nation or are the desired outcomes purely political? Are the ends justifying the means?
In politics, integrity does not necessarily mean that one does not make compromises or refuses to negotiate and accommodate. It does mean that one does not sacrifice the public good for personal and political gain. In this present economic climate, it seems that the best thing for both political parties to do is to make an agreement that is fair, just, and balanced for the nation as a whole, and to stop catering to the hard right or far left and to stop pandering to any other special interest group. But no, it seems that both parties are rather more worried about election 2012 than they are about the economic strength of this nation—and that myopic concern lacks political integrity.