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Saving Our Republic With integrity

Posted on Thursday, July 27, 2023
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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30 Comments
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integrity

Integrity, accountability, and ability to speak with – not at – one another. These three elements are essential for the survival of a republic. But where are we? Losing track of all three. Here is why they matter, and how we can reestablish common understanding – at least on this basic point.

Integrity involves principle, understanding that truth and honesty matter, then pledging internally – just to yourself, not to the world – that you will abide what you understand to be right-minded principles.

This is not a hard concept. We either subscribe to it, or we do not.  Our leaders either subscribe to it or they do not. Their actions – their behaviors – tell us all we need to know, so watch closely.

Absent a life centered on principle, people – and leaders, indeed entire nations – get off track fast. While all compasses are not alike, True North never changes; all stars pivot around the North Star. Recognizing the North Star is worth it, and once you do others will.

Integrity – in a moral sense – is like this. We know it when we see it. It is not about perfection, not about hindsight, not about absence of mistakes, conformity, uniformity, politics, or policies.

It is about one thing: Deciding to do the right thing as you see it, every time. That is when we value ourselves most. That is what we need in our leaders, to straighten up the ship.

Leaders – at every level, of every political stripe – make mistakes, misjudge facts, make decisions they regret. They are judged. Good ones judge themselves, correct things, go forward. 

That does not mean they lack integrity.  Only by erring with intent, by not caring about the compass, by forgetting True North, the prime directive – “do the right thing” – do we fail.

But there is another kind of integrity. Call it engineering integrity, or the way things hold together – or do not.  Failing this kind – for person, leader, or nation – is also calamitous.

Think of it this way. A person who does not have a set of principles to guide them, a consistent worldview – whether conservative, liberal, or some combination – or who has not thought about what they believe and why, or whether they need to stick with it or change things, is lost.

Likewise, any leader who waffles, or is consistently inconsistent, or abides some “foolish consistency” – to quote Emerson – tells us all we need to know about his inner ticker, lack of engineering integrity. This leader is a mish-mash of ideas, conflicting positions, inner conflict.

Leaders who lack engineering integrity – whose worldviews lack cogency, consistency, and cannot be logically or empirically defended, are – in that engineering sense – unstable, unpredictable, and always lead poorly.

Finally, nations led by those without moral or engineering integrity are on a like course, progressively divided, filled with conflict, unruly, and usually unhappy.  Rather than being reminded of their strengths, capacity and ideals, they get lost, falter and fail.

So, if a republic needs both types of integrity – at the personal, leader, and nation levels – what about accountability? Same thing. If actions taken by citizens or leaders do not result in predictable outcomes – good acts rewarded, bad punished – things fall apart.

Without accountability – especially for those in positions of power – trust in leaders, and more gravely in the government, electing, appointing, and removing leaders, plummets.

Republics, based on sovereignty vested in leaders expected to be accountable – just fail, if accountability fails. As with integrity, a republic flirts with failure if they give up accountability.  As a nation, we need to demand accountability as a condition for holding power – to survive.

Finally, communication is vital. Republics depend – fundamentally – on reaching agreement, which requires compromise, which requires communication.  Sometimes we agree to disagree, some seeing one configuration of stars around the North Star, others seeing another.

But when we cannot agree to disagree, instead disagreeing to disagree, we default to fighting among ourselves. Just as loss of integrity and accountability are truly dangerous, so is this.

Loss of honest conversation prevents learning, which blocks compromise, which prevents agreements, which gums up the works of any republic, with unforgiving consequences. 

A republic filled with people who cannot tolerate talk, comes apart from within. Political violence grows, respect for history, institutions, law, and each other erodes. Foreign powers see opportunities; no better time to win a war than when the enemy is destroying itself.

This, my friends, is where we are headed, where the discussion ends, or where it should start. We have in our power, the ability to re-elevate integrity and accountability. We get there by speaking with each other. Absent such things, republics fail. We can save ours, and we need to get to it.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

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SusanW
SusanW
10 months ago

Robert, your article is excellent, as always, and your message is of the upmost importance. However, my optimism is waning a bit, regarding our country and its leaders, so I don’t want to bring down the spirit you are exemplifying by saying too much. In my opinion, one of your most important paragraphs was:” Without accountability – especially for those in positions of power – trust in leaders, and more gravely in the government, electing, appointing, and removing leaders, plummets.” If we can’t find better leaders who have integrity, ability, and have no issues with being held accountable, our future does not look bright nor hopeful. I totally agree with your assessment that we must all come together and be tolerant with each others’ beliefs, but where do we begin? Who will be brave enough to be the first to step forward?
As Confucius said, “The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.”

Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
10 months ago

A large part of a solid foundation, be it for oneself or as a nation, has to do with Integrity. This is a great bit of guidance you wrote here Robert. I do believe that the consequences of a loss of honest conversation — as you described — ” A republic filled with people who cannot tolerate talk , comes apart from wiihin .” And enemies see opportunity to move in on situations like that — and as history shows that could happen relatively quick . It is like someone leaving the front door of their house open on a regular basis. May as well have a sign up on the door that says ” We are not at home , and we don’t care about too much of anything anyway. ” That sort of mindset would reflect serious problems that would need to be fixed — real quick. So, like you stated I agree about how we can save this republic, and we need to get to it. I am thinking that the last sentence of the Declaration of Independence would be an appropriate contribution to this topic — ” And in support for this Declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes , our sacred Honor.”

.

Rick
Rick
10 months ago

Integrity,honesty and accountability three words missing from most democrats vocabulary.

MCA
MCA
10 months ago

Biden Administration has no integrity.

Philip Seth Hammersley
Philip Seth Hammersley
10 months ago

Today, words have no REAL meanings! “Equity” means treating people differently. “Diversity” means everyone must think exactly alike. “Unity” means agree with amoral people or shut up. “Truth” and “science” can be whatever someone THINKS they are!

William Hodge
William Hodge
10 months ago

There will never be integrity in politics again if there is s democrat party such as we have now. Their entire political platform is based upon lying, cheating, stealing and judicial attacks on other political parties and the very few democrats that don’t use their “white sheet” of talking points for that day. Ever notice that every democrat operative talks about the same thing on any particular day? All of the democrat leadership should be tried for corruption and treason and when found guilty hung in the streets.

anna hubert
anna hubert
10 months ago

Unfortunately we now have a new vocabulary Integrity honor truth or courage are not in it

Ann S
Ann S
10 months ago

I think we are already there. Discussions are no longer possible. I have tried and I am being dismissed by the left person saying I am left and you are right and therefore we cannot talk about our difference.
The left powers that be do this all the time as well. Schumer said today charges against Hunter were brought by a Trump appointed prosecutor. Enough said. If Hunter did even one little thing wrong, that was not acknowledged. It was enough to say that the prosecutor a Trump appointee was. If we say the same thing about the prosecutors that indict Trump we are called nazis. The left with the dems do not want to dialogue.
America is being destroyed from within. Only the dem voter does not see it.

Joe McHugh
Joe McHugh
10 months ago

Thi article also mentioned the word principles and that people need principles to be guidelines in life. All liberals, and Joe Biden in particular have principles. They all follow the principles found in the book ” The Communist Manifesto”. Many of these execrable people also follow the additional principles that Joe Biden exhibits, i.e. graft and extortion.
Not all principles are positive ones. Sadly, the word “integrity” does not appear in the liberal dictionary.

Morbious
Morbious
10 months ago

Many people thought that by offering hitler and stalin fair treatment they would respond in kind. They failed to grasp the fact that evil exists and projected their good intentions on soulless monsters. The results were predictable.

Jerry
Jerry
10 months ago

“Integrity is about one thing: Deciding to do the right thing as you see it, every time”. I will disagree with Mr. Charles a little on this point. Where moral issues are concerned our creator gives us moral laws to live by and it is not up to us to decide what is right. One could think fornication and adultery are right as one sees it but that don’t make it right.

Sharon Ormsby
Sharon Ormsby
10 months ago

Unfortunately I don’t think we can save ours. The zpeople have become so evil and have little to no integrity any more. It’s very sad.

Rik
Rik
10 months ago

Today’s politicians are so power hungry they have little if any integrity especially so-called Democrats! It’s amazing to me that Jackass Joe Biden can lie so openly and not be called on it by the mainstream media. In fact, they protect him! But it’s now being exposed because he can’t tell everyone how Bidenomics is being so successful when everyone is paying twice as much for everything! Hopefully, the so-called Democratic base will rise up and get smarter but time will tell!

Rodewaryer
Rodewaryer
10 months ago

Oh we need a big revival of what it means to have integrity. It’s missing in our government, more than it’s being followed. I’m of the view that it’s all too late, because with the loss of an election system to the left, we won’t be seeing any more real elections and that means if Trump doesn’t get back into office ‘this time’, we’re done. And if Integrity ever becomes a focus of attention by the grubby maggot left in DC, they’ll just change the definition of it anyway. It’s what they do.

sdg
sdg
10 months ago

The problem is that even if there is an overwhelming amount of voters to vote for good people to take out the demoncrats, YOU STILL HAVE THE PROBLEM OF HOW TO COUNTER THE EVIL FILTHY MARXIST LEFTISTS THAT WILL LIE, CHEAT, AND STEAL YOUR VOTE THROUGH INTIMIDATION, SOROS AND OTHERS BUYING VOTES IN CRITICAL STATES, BUYING OFF VOTE TABULATORS TO LIE ABOUT WHAT THEY ARE COUNTING AND ACTUALLY DESTROYING LEGAL CONSERVATIVE VOTES, AMONGST OTHER METHODS, THAT WILL ALLOW THE DEMONCRATS TO WIN. just LIKE THEY DID IN PENNSYLVANIA IN ELECTING A BRAIN DEAD MORON.
hOW ARE YOU GOING TO (FIX) THAT PROBLEM

lawrence greenberg
lawrence greenberg
10 months ago

Integrity? Nice concept. Too bad there’s pretty much none of it to be found any more.

Sindal19
Sindal19
10 months ago

Since we have NO rule of law, anymore, is that not another destruct?

Aloys Notzon
Aloys Notzon
10 months ago

When people believe that perception is stronger than reality and act upon their perceptions we are left with very few seekers of truth. Our society, media and government are relying on perceptions to control the citizens and even censor divergent opinion in order to control perception. Great example was impugning the studies showing the effectiveness of Ivermectin against Covid. We all need to be seekers of truth.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
10 months ago

Great But Leftists are Anti Integrity day 1 & hard to fight
Unless use in ones own Life

SAW
SAW
10 months ago

Thank you Robert, you are always informative and inspirational!
The weaponization of the democrats with their hold on the corrupted FBI has all but silenced the Republican’s in the House and Senate.
The majority of them are afraid to act on our behalf as our elected officials.
We must hold all of them accountable for their failures to unite, fight this communism and stop re-electing the same individuals that just hide in the shadows.
I am not optimistic with the “republican’s” representing us now and uncertain they would truly support Trump even if he does get the nomination and makes it back to the white house.

johnh
johnh
10 months ago

Integrity means truth & honesty, so what grade do you give the last three Presidents. Did they tell the truth all the time to Americans ? I can understand why they might not tell other countries the truth , but here yes.

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