Saturday, May 23, 2009

Integrity - The Endangered Virtue

Wouldn't it be great if we spent as much time and effort protecting our endangered virtues as we did our endangered species? Can we get lobbyists for our virtues? A whole virtue movement?

A trip to the grocery store prompted this idea for me. I was doing my weekly shopping and paying close attention to what I was spending. I'm taking a trip to Scotland so every penny I spend now is being watched because I could be spending it on my trip. I was adding up my items in my head to make sure I kept myself within my budget as I was shopping. But when I wen through the check out my items came to much less than I had calculated. This bothered me quite a bit because, though I can't do advanced trigonometry in my head, I can do algebra. When I checked my receipt I realized that the 20 lb bag of cat food did not scan.

I can't say that for a half a second I didn't consider just letting the mistake stand, but it I couldn't do it. I couldn't steal cat food. As a chronic insomniac I have a hard enough time sleeping at night without adding that guilt to it. So I told the cashier and I paid for the cat food. The cashier looked at me oddly and said, "well at least you're honest." This reminded me of another time I was at the grocery store. This was when the new $10 bills had just come out. I bought stamps and paid with a $10 and got change for a $20. I really could have used the extra $10 at that time, but again I couldn't keep it. Especially knowing that the kid behind the counter would suffer for it. When I told him I'd paid with a $10 and not a $20 he argued at first and then checked the drawer and, sure enough, there was a $10 in the $20 slot. He said that his drawer had been coming up short all week and that was probably why. So although I had told him, others had not. Others had taken money that they knew was not due them. This brings up the question of integrity.

What is integrity? I consider it as doing the right thing even when nobody is watching. I don't know if what I do counts considering that I have a very strong faith and a knowledge that God is always watching. This is the way I was raised, and the values that were instilled in me by parents with strong and unshakable integrity themselves. But what about those that have been taught to take what you can get? We stopped teaching right from wrong and now our integrity is endangered. And nobody seems to care. People stand up and shout that it's wrong to let a species become extinct, and I agree with that, but they'll let our integrity, honor and character fall into oblivion.

Is there really any question that the country and the world would be a much better place if everybody displayed integrity and honor in their dealings with others, but we have let this fall by the wayside. We've let he progressives tell us that we can't teach right from wrong in our schools and that we can't legislate morality. Is that what we call progress? A reversion to selfishness and greed? They consider this progressive? Where is the progress in that?

Those of us who understand the importance of integrity, honor and character in our country and the world need to hold those without it accountable. We need to fight to save it. And most importantly, we need to fight for it's reproduction in others. We need to fight for our integrity at least as hard as we fight to save the polar bears. We need to be our own lobbyists. So here's to saving our endangered virtues. Long may they reign.

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