Constitutionally Right

The only way to predict the future is to create it.

Location: Yardley, PA (Bucks County), United States

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Weekend of Character - Bucks County Courier Times November 20, 2014

     I had one of the highest honors of all time last weekend in Washington, DC (with 30,000 like-minded runners) picking up the rear at the Marine Corps Marathon.  Fortunately for me, the majority of the magic of the weekend wasn’t with the “running” part, but in meeting some of the American superheroes of today. 
     It began with the wife of an Army Ranger lost in combat while she was 9 months pregnant.  The story of the support she’s received from the team I participated with is one of the greatest examples of leaving-no-one-behind that I’ve ever heard.  Prior to the weekend I learned of a runner on crutches who was determined to complete the entire 26+ mile run.  She did complete it with her triple amputee Marine boyfriend waiting at the Finish Line for the most profound demonstration of the human spirit that I’m aware of.  Meeting them by chance on the way to the start was a life highlight that defies words.
     We often say that we support the troops, but do we really?  Do we know who they are, what they stand for, what they believe in and what motivates them to risk and sacrifice life and limb so that the rest of us can continue our way of life unencumbered?
     We have failed these young men and women who have given (and continue to give) so much.  We allow our politicians to play games with their lives while they maintain the character and integrity that our nation needs now more than ever.  We fail by believing self-serving “leaders” void of substance over those who really lead.
     Take Iraq, for example.  We have not only undermined the effort in Iraq, but have in fact reversed the gains in exchange for the political favor of the uninformed masses thereby doing irreparable damage to worldwide security.  But need we be the uninformed masses?  Have we always been so uninformed and why are we so uninformed and shallow?
     Freedom is the natural human condition from where opportunity for all originates.  Dictatorship, tyranny and oppression are the roots of the fanaticism that spawn terrorism.  So, naturally, having a beacon of freedom in the epicenter of irrational hatred would seem to be the best weapon against terror (since opportunity and terror are inversely related).
     Certainly not without its challenges since those with anti-freedom agendas are always trying to (by definition) undermine freedom itself, but this effort was undermined right from the start and then undone bringing us back to square one or worse.
     We could simply turn all of our attention to killing the perpetrators, but since terror originates from oppression the best long-term weapon against it would seem to be freedom and opportunity.  Just takes some outside-the-box thinking to grasp the concept.  Not entirely our fault since the current and past “leadership” has failed on some of the most basic tenants of leadership (like keeping your people informed, for example), but not moving forward with truth and honesty at this time in history is now our fault.
     Maybe we can begin following the example of our men and women in uniform.  Most of us do recognize and embrace character and integrity when we see it which is why so many seek to support the troops and be a part of what they represent.
     The best way then, in my opinion, to support the troops is to become what they are.  They are real leaders and becoming like them is easy once the commitment is made.  Leadership is simply helping others to do their best and is achieved by:
     1.  set an example worth following
     2.  keep your word
     3.  stand up for what’s right even if you’re the only one doing it
     4.  get the job done without being told
     5.  be friendly and respectful
     6.  treat everyone equally
     7.  be enthusiastic and let others do what they do best without interfering
     8.  share unpleasant tasks
     9.  put the needs of others before your own
   10.  privately correct others when they’re wrong
   11.  help those who are in trouble
   12.  weigh the facts with good judgment
   13.  be neat and clean and on time
     Taking cues from our nations’ brightest, bravest and finest is the best way to honor and support them and based on my recent observations we are in no short supply and they welcome us with open arms.  The price of character and integrity is far less than the burden and cost of selfish emptiness and the rewards for all significantly surpass the initial fee.