Tag Archives: courage

As Close To An Ethics Hero As He’s Ever Likely To Get: Senator Ted Cruz

I never thought I would have occasion to place the term “Ethics Hero” anywhere near Ted Cruz’s name. Ted understands ethics (unlike Donald Trump), he just discards them at will, when an end he lusts for requires an unethical means. Last night, however, Cruz brushed up against ethics heroism. He took the podium at the Republican National Convention in prime time, and directed principled conservatives and Republicans not to vote for Donald Trump, though not in so many words. It took character, it took courage, and his message was the right one.

The Texas Senator and last Trump challenger standing congratulated Trump for winning the Republican nomination,  but never endorsed him. Then he closed by telling convention-goers and TV viewers to “vote your conscience” in November. The convention throng of Trump supporters erupted in jeers, as Cruz had to know they would, and Trump felt he had to appear on the floor to pull focus from his intransigent foe. Today on Fox News, the Fox Blondes and their harassers were slamming Cruz as a traitor and a fool.

Yeah, that was how the collaborators talked about De Gaulle in France during the occupation, too. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Government & Politics, Leadership

Ethics Hero (And Author Of Perhaps The Best Facebook Post Ever): Palm Beach Florida African-American Police Officer Jay Stalien

Jay Stalien

When I read published quotes from police officer Jay Stalien’s Facebook page post, now deservedly in the process of going viral, my immediate reaction was that it was a hoax, a measured and well-researched explanation of the racial unrest surrounding police shootings and the Black Lives Matter movement written by a professional pundit  and placed in the metaphorical mouth of a black police officer to give it added power and credibility. It was, in short, too good to be true.

It is true, however, as well as good. To be presented at this time is an act of courage and civic responsibility by Stalien, and his effort redeems the existence of Facebook and social media, not to mention the internet, as few posts have. In the past, someone like Stalien would have to submit a column to a newspaper editor, and agree to cuts and edits that reduced its effectiveness, if his important observations were to have any impact beyond his living room or workplace. Now he can publish himself. The First Amendment has seldom been better served.

The post is very long, but you should read it all, here.  I will only point out some highlights.

He begins, in part…

The following may be a shock to some coming from an African American, but the mere fact that it may be shocking to some is prima facie evidence of the sad state of affairs that we are in as Humans.

I used to be so torn inside growing up. Here I am, a young African-American born and raised in Brooklyn, NY wanting to be a cop. I watched and lived through the crime that took place in the hood. My own black people killing others over nothing….I used to be woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of gun fire, only to look outside and see that it was 2 African Americans shooting at each other.

It never sat right with me. I wanted to help my community and stop watching the blood of African Americans spilled on the street at the hands of a fellow black man. I became a cop because black lives in my community, along with ALL lives, mattered to me, and wanted to help stop the bloodshed.

As time went by in my law enforcement career, I quickly began to realize something. I remember the countless times I stood 2 inches from a young black man, around my age, laying on his back, gasping for air as blood filled his lungs. I remember them bleeding profusely with the unforgettable smell of deoxygenated dark red blood in the air, as it leaked from the bullet holes in his body on to the hot sidewalk on a summer day. I remember the countless family members who attacked me, spit on me, cursed me out, as I put up crime scene tape to cordon off the crime scene, yelling and screaming out of pain and anger at the sight of their loved ones taking their last breath. I never took it personally, I knew they were hurting. I remember the countless times I had to order new uniforms, because the ones I had on, were bloody from the blood of another black victim…of black on black crime. I remember the countless times I got back in my patrol car, distraught after having watched another black male die in front me, having to start my preliminary report something like this:

Suspect- Black/ Male, Victim-Black /Male.

Then Officer Stalien, in the same powerful style, proceeds to answer typical complaints from the black community by presenting  “FACTS” that too many African-Americans, elected officials, journalists and partisans refuse to believe, accept, or comprehend: Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Facebook, Law & Law Enforcement, Public Service, Race, U.S. Society

Ethics Quote Of This Day, July 2: The Inscription On the Monument To The First Minnesota Regiment At Gettysburg National Battlefield Park

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 “On the afternoon of July 2, 1863 Sickles’ Third Corps, having advanced from this line to the Emmitsburg Road, eight companies of the First Minnesota Regiment, numbering 262 men were sent to this place to support a battery upon Sickles repulse. As his men were passing here in confused retreat, two Confederate brigades in pursuit were crossing the swale. To gain time to bring up the reserves and save this position, Gen Hancock in person ordered the eight companies to charge the rapidly advancing enemy. The order was instantly repeated by Col Wm Colvill. And the charge as instantly made down the slope at full speed through the concentrated fire of the two brigades breaking with the bayonet the enemy’s front line as it was crossing the small brook in the low ground there the remnant of the eight companies, nearly surrounded by the enemy held its entire force at bay for a considerable time and till it retired on the approach of the reserve the charge successfully accomplished its object. It saved this position and probably the battlefield. The loss of the eight companies in the charge was 215 killed & wounded. More than 83% percent. 47 men were still in line and no man missing. In self sacrificing desperate valor this charge has no parallel in any war. Among the severely wounded were Col Wm Colvill, Lt Col Chas P Adams & Maj Mark W. Downie. Among the killed Capt Joseph Periam, Capt Louis Muller & Lt Waldo Farrar. The next day the regiment participated in repelling Pickett’s charge losing 17 more men killed and wounded.”

On July 2, 1863, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 262 Union soldiers in the First Minnesota Regiment rushed—which apparently specialized in desperate fighting-–to throw themselves into a breach in the Union line at Cemetery against a greatly superior force, knowing that they were almost surely to die. 215 of them did, but the regiment bought crucial minutes that allowed reinforcements to arrive.

It is perhaps one of the most inspiring of the many acts of courage that day, the second day of the battle that changed the course of the Civil War. I first wrote about the sacrifice of the First Minnesota five years ago, here.

Let’s try to remember.

(A recommendation: Sometime between July 1 and the Fourth ever year, we always watch Ted Turner’s excellent film, which also has one of my favorite film scores.  It  helps.)

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Filed under Character, History, War and the Military

Essay: On Loretta Lynch And Fighting Cynicism And Distrust Regarding The FBI Investigation Of Hillary Clinton

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Warning:

This is long.

I think it’s important

In the wake of Attorney General Lynch’s acknowledgment of wrongdoing in meeting, however briefly and innocently, with Bill Clinton, some  reader comments here are redolent of the destructive distrust of government and leadership engendered by this administration and others, particularly Bill’s. Yet this attitude feeds on itself, and is to an extent a self-fulfilling prophecy. If leaders think that people expect corruption, they are less likely to shy away from it. Cynicism leads to acceptance. Of course, this is one explanation of why the tarmac meeting took place—pure arrogance and a belief that with the news media’s complicity, now virtually any degree of government dishonesty and corruption will be either effectively hidden from the public, or accepted by it.

This is untrue, still. Indeed, this episode is proof that it is untrue, though the news media did make (disgusting and ignorant) efforts to shrug off the clear appearance of impropriety represented by Lynch having a meeting with Clinton the Impeached under these circumstances. Why do I labor trying to write these essays explaining the legal and ethical context of such events if readers are so poisoned by bitterness and distrust that they can’t or won’t process them, and just default to “it doesn’t make any difference, all is shit, all is lost”?  If I believed that, I wouldn’t be spending time—work  time, uncompensated time—writing this stuff. I can earn peanuts directing professional theatrical productions: it makes people happy, gives actors work, and is a lot more fun, believe me.

Paranoia, suspicion, despair, and conspiratorial views of government, which are all these comments represent, are just forms of bias. Bias makes us stupid, and in this case, bias makes us dysfunctional as a people and fearful and miserable as individuals. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Professions, U.S. Society

Now, Whatever Else, We Know That Attorney General Loretta Lynch Is More Ethical Than Hillary Clinton

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Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s response to the immediate criticism of her private, suspicion-generating meeting with Bill Clinton was the correct one and the only ethical response open to her now. Today she admitted that that her airport meeting with former President Bill Clinton while possible charges against Hillary Clinton were being explored by the FBI had undermined public trust in the investigation, and she also took remedial action. She did more than recuse herself from the matter. She announced that she would  accept whatever recommendations that career prosecutors and the F.B.I. director make about whether to bring charges against the presumptive Democratic nominee.

“I will be accepting their recommendations,”  Lynch said in an appearance at the Aspen Ideas Festival. She said that “the case will be resolved by the same team that has been working on it from the beginning.”

This remarkable move will not remove the stain on the meeting, which already created the “appearance of impropriety” at the worst possible time in the worst possible matter. However, Lynch acted quickly, appropriately, honestly and decisively.  Incredibly, the episode may have actually resulted in a situation that will reduce public and political cynicism if Clinton is not indicted, except for those who will insist that the fix was in from the beginning, as indeed it might have been, given the general lack of accountability and propensity for cover-ups in the Obama administration.

As one delicious scenario, it is possible that Bill Clinton’s characteristic penchant for breaking the rules at will may have created a situation that leads to his wife having to face criminal charges. It is certainly true that the chances, still slim, that Hillary will have to face the music is greater now than it was two days ago. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

Gut Check For Obama: The Responsible Thing Is To Pull Out Of The 2016 Olympics

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UPDATE: 6/18/13 Now this.

The responsible thing, in fact, would have been to pull out before now.

The Olympics, which were supposed to represent the ideal of pure, individual amateur (For love, not money) athletic achievement, metastasized into a bloated, hyper-nationalist insult to those ideals long ago. In addition…

…The Olympic organization is corrupt, accepting bribes to determine which nations host the games.

…The competitions are corrupt, with banned performance enhancing substances being used widely and with the assistance and knowledge of participating nations, in some cases. At the end of last year, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)  issued a report calling for Russia to be banned from international athletics at all levels for flagrant doping violations and a “deeply rooted culture of cheating at all levels” within Russian athletics.

Have the Olympics banned Russia? Of course not.

Meanwhile, an IOC investigation revealed that 23 athletes have tested positive in a massive doping scandal that could ban a total of 31 yet-unnamed athletes “from 12 countries and six sports” from participating in the 2016 Olympics.

…The games now have the shadow of terrorism hanging over them.

…Expenditures by hosting nations always divert resources into inefficient and unnecessary projects, as greater national and social priorities suffer in the pursuit of pride and prestige. Following a pattern that we have seen in other countries, some poor Brazilians  have  lost their homes as part of preparations for the games. Continue reading

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Ethical Quote Of The Day—D-Day, That Is : Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander

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“Our landings have failed and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

—–Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, as found on a piece of paper he wrote on just before the D-Day invasion began, and just after he ordered it to commence, on June 6, 1944.

Eisenhower wrote these words to be his own apology and acceptance of responsibility had the massive invasion at Normandy been a defeat rather than the history-altering victory it was.

It almost was a defeat, and as the note, which Ike’s naval aide, Captain Harry C. Butcher, found crumpled in his shirt pocket weeks later and saved for posterity, shows, Ike realized all too well that it might be. The secret dry run for the invasion had been a deadly fiasco, the weather was atrocious, and no military operation on this scale had ever been attempted before in the history of man. It took a combination of German mistakes, high command confusion, individual heroics and the usual twists and turns of chaotic fate that decide most battles to allow the Allies to prevail. Continue reading

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