Doing what is right, regardless of the cost, has been a hallmark of the American people. It has been something that our allies and foes alike could always depend upon. It has been written in the blood of our soldiers on the battlefields of foreign lands as we’ve fought against tyranny, or with the treasures of our nation to help those in need due to pestilence, famine or natural disasters.
Integrity stems from the Latin word, “integer,” which means whole and complete. To have integrity would therefore require one to be whole and complete themself. The adherence of the highest of moral codes would also be something that you would expect from someone who has integrity.
Another wonderful definition of integrity hangs on the office wall of one my friends. It simply states the following, “Integrity”… Doing What is Right Even if No One is Looking. It is a pretty simple phrase, but it encapsulates so much, in so few words.
The need to insure that our public servants, whether elected or appointed, share those qualities is paramount to guaranteeing that those that govern or serve us do so with unquestioned ethical and moral values.
The airways are full of stories detailing repugnant accounts of elected and appointed officials who have utilized their positions of power and influence to take advantage of the innocent, acquire wealth, and to further their political and personal agendas.
When those violations of the public trust begin to become evident, many times those who are responsible try to cloud the truth by attempting to smear the reputations of their innocent victims.
It is even more unfortunate when others attempt to cloud the administration of justice. All of this in an attempt to protect the guilty, and to insure personal political agendas will not be derailed. This is done at the continued expense of the veracity of the system.
Unfortunately, we as a society have drifted away from Judeo-Christian values on occasion. Those values are the foundation of our nation, but are often neglected for what is convenient, rather than what is right.
We, as a community and a nation, must demand more from those that serve us; more from those we have entrusted our, and our children’s futures to. We have to require a higher standard of ethics and morality from them, and not find excuses for their inadequacies and shortcomings.
To accept excuses, rather than accomplishments, lies squarely on our shoulders and provides us with a recipe for failure, and a less than acceptable blueprint for our future.
Men or women who take advantage of others by applying their position and power are not only wrong, but they are also acting illegally. They must be dealt with in a swift and decisive manner. People that are in the position to take that definitive action, yet fail to do so, must be dealt with in a similar manner — by removing them from their positions, if necessary, and replacing them with public servants that will protect both the foundations of the republic and its people.
We have no place for predators in our governmental bodies or within the ranks of our public servants. The many professionals that serve us with honor and integrity deserve no less from us than to remove those who have created a stain on their proud work.
Steve Stefanides, well-known by his nickname “Stef,” is an experienced award-winning reporter of local civic and public interest news. Stef’s More Straight Talk column (and its predecessor, Straight Talk), on a variety of subjects, is a favorite of readers who trust him to bring them the facts. A Marco Island resident, Stef contributes to the community in many ways, having served on a number of city committees, charitable groups, boards and local organizations. Contact him by email at Stef@coastalbreezenews.com