The Bright Side
An article by Terry O’Neill, former Lake Geneva Alderperson.
America’s greatness and stability rest on three principles, and like a three-legged stool, it needs all three of these pillars to be and to remain great and stable. The three pillars of America’s greatness are science, free markets, and integrity. Take away any one of these three pillars, and again like a three-legged stool, it will fall of its own accord.
Of the three pillars, personal integrity (meaning being decent, fair and honest), is under the greatest threat. The lack of personal integrity has infiltrated the other legs. Science is often distorted with false, misleading and manipulated data to support desired political views, agendas and products. False and exaggerated product claims have become a standard for business promotions; sensationalized, staged and fake news makes headline news. The deterioration in personal integrity is at the heart of America’s problem.
Whose words, motives and actions can one trust? With freedom of speech comes conflicting views and like the six blind men and the elephant, each point of view has a valid point, and we can learn from each other as long as there is integrity in speech and in listening. The deterioration of personal integrity is reflected in the rapid growth in the personal protection industry which includes products and services for personal protection, security, surveillance, and enforcement. This growth is a symptom of the deterioration of trust in others.
Trust in others is a fundamental requirement for the success of any group, team, society or country. With a loss of integrity, comes a loss of respect and a loss of trust. With each loss of trust, we add another layer of protection and isolation which causes a reduction of meaningful communication with those with whom we have lost trust. The way to reverse this is to trust even when there is still some level of doubt. Rather than looking for what is wrong in what someone is saying, look for the truth in their perspective, and like the blind men and the elephant, look for the truth that encompasses and explains all the pieces.
Friends are made by discussing and working together on the things held in common and not by arguing over the things on which there is disagreement. However, with true friends, one can safely discuss both, but even that is easier to do after first reaching an agreement on other issues.
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