Tag Archives: determination

Ethics Hero: World War II Vet Burke Waldron

It is a day late, but I finally have my Memorial Day post.

Thank-you, Burke Waldron, for your service, for making me feel young, and for having the integrity not to embarrass yourself, your contemporaries, and everyone else by making pathetic attempt at throwing a baseball.

I’m not sure which elements of Ethics Hero 92-year-old WW II veteran Burke Waldron displayed yesterday, as he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Seattle Mariners game on Memorial Day. Call him a holistic hero. He’s a hero, like all of the fallen soldiers—including my dad—of past wars, because he risked the horrors of combat to defend our nation and the values it stands for…well, at least until Donald Trump is President.

He’s a hero because he represented his generation yesterday with style, verve and energy, running to the pitcher’s mound—in his uniform!as thousands cheered. Most of all, to me, he’s a hero because he took his assignment seriously, and didn’t emulate the pathetic rockers, politicians and even retired athletes who defile their first pitch honors by throwing the ball like a 7-year-old T-ball player, because they couldn’t be bothered to practice. Petty Officer, 2nd Class Waldron threw a strike to his catcher…

…just like another war hero, Ted Williams, did in his last appearance on a baseball field, at the 1999 All-Star Game in Boston. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Heroes, History, Sports

No, I’m Not Angry, And No, I Don’t Hate The Clintons, And Yes, I Know What You’re Doing By Claiming Otherwise

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A website linked to Ethics Alarms last week, and inadvertently exposed me to some nasty critics*, one of whom wrote  that among other transgressions, I “really hate the Clintons” and am “a very angry person.”

I know what this is, and I enshrined the technique as Rationalization #48. Ethics Jiu Jitsu, or “Haters Gonna Hate!”:

This vintage of obnoxious rationalization is recently pressed. Its objective is to turn the tables on legitimate critics of unethical conduct by asserting that it is the act of criticism itself that is wrong, thus allowing the object of the criticism to not only escape unscathed, but to claim victim status... The politically-motivated legal monstrosities known as “hate crimes”  have inspired this rationalization by making it plausible to argue that dislike itself is wrong, even when what is being disliked, criticized or hated is objectively wrongful conduct. All “haters” are lumped together, whether the object of hate is Lance Armstrong’s cheating, the NFL’s conspiracy to hide the effects of concussions, or Barack Obama’s ineptitude, in a linguistic trick that suggests that sincere critics are no different from people who hate the United States, minorities, decency, true love and puppies. They are all haters, hate is bad, and it’s the haters who are the problem, not the corruption, dishonesty, and betrayals they criticize…

I don’t hate the Clintons. I have no emotional investment in the Clintons at all, any more than I am filled with hatred for Donald Trump, Melissa Harris-Perry, Bill O’Reilly, Kim Davis, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Michele Bachmann, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Carol Costello, Barry Bonds, Tom Brady, the NFL, PETA or any of the targets of intense criticism here. Hate is a powerful emotion, and it leads to irrational decision-making. This is a blog dedicated to ethics, which requires rational decision-making. Hatred leads to bias, and bias makes us stupid. I am not a hateful person; I doubt that anyone who knows me thinks of me as a hateful person. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Government & Politics

Robert Griffin III, Wally Pipp, and the Catch-22 of Lies

Dan Wetzel would have loved Wally Pipp

Dan Wetzel would have loved Wally Pipp

If you want to see the stark difference between the culture of baseball and the culture of football. look no further than Washington, D.C., where the city’s sports fans are in mourning for the second time in barely three months’ time. The surging Redskins just met play-off elimination, because their young star quarterback was injured but allowed to stay in the game. Back in October, the city’s new sports darlings, baseball’s Nationals, were eliminated in their first play-off round, in part, fans believe, because the team wouldn’t let its completely healthy young star pitcher play for fear that he would get injured.

This week everyone from my local sandwich shop proprietor to the driver of the cab I just got out of is furious  at Redskins coach Mike Shanahan for allowing the obviously hobbled Robert Griffin III to stay in the doomed game against the Seattle Seahawks when there was a competent back-up on the bench. And some, like Yahoo! sportswriter Dan Wetzel, are blaming Griffin, for “lying”:

“Robert Griffin III couldn’t do much of anything Sunday except lie, which is what he’s been trained to do in situations like this.
Lie to himself that he can still deliver like no backup could. Lie to his coach that this was nothing big. Lie to the doctors who tried to assess him in the swirl of a playoff sideline. So Robert Griffin III lied, which is to be excused because this is a sport that rewards toughness in the face of common sense, a culture that celebrates the warrior who is willing to leave everything on the field, a business that believes such lies are part of the road to greatness.” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, History, Leadership, Sports

Unethical Quote of the Month: Bristol Palin

“Going out there and winning this would mean a lot. It would be like a big middle finger to all the people out there that hate my mom and hate me.

Bristol Palin, Sarah Palin’s daughter and blatantly undeserving finalist in ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” on the show’s finale Tuesday’s night, prior to the revelation of the results of the audience voting. (She lost.) Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Quotes, Etiquette and manners, Family, Popular Culture

Integrity Check for Barack Obama

The Los Angeles Times compared the themes and tones of President Obama’s speeches in 2008 and now, again on the campaign trail but facing a very different set of challenges. What they discovered was both provocative and depressing:

His message of national unity and reconciliation had been replaced by a stark warning against cynical Republican tactics, vague threats to America’s political system and the urgent need to keep the GOP marginalized. There was less hope, more fear…
Obama in Portland suggested that “foreign-controlled corporations” were bankrolling a “misleading, negative” ad campaign that serves Republicans, but offered no evidence.”We don’t know,” he said. Continue reading

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Filed under Government & Politics, Leadership, Professions, U.S. Society