Do What is Right

Most of you likely watched the Presidential Debate on June 27th. If you are like me, you turned the debate off shortly after the first break because you were mildly frustrated with the demeanor shown and responses given by the two men on stage. Regardless of political orientation, it was clear one candidate struggled more than the other to form complete thoughts and make sound arguments. Read any article produced by any news outlet on June 28th. Be that as it may, neither candidate showed a particular interest in answering the questions being asked (certainly not directly), nor did they seem to care. I thought the questions were reasonable and could have given voters something to think about at the polls in November. Rather than an informative and insightful evening where two people debated with class as they vie for arguably the most powerful political position on Earth, the world watched some form of bad entertainment. Click…black screen.

The Presidential Debate preceded one of the most important days in United States history, July 4th. Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, a day in 1776 firmly situated in the history books. I wonder what John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, or John Hancock (among many others) would think of our political system. I wonder what they would think of the debate. These men signed one of the most important documents in American history in the spirit of doing the right thing for the people who believed in them. They cared about people’s questions and cared about appropriate representation.

Representation is critically important. Sure, it is important for our leaders to represent us well. But it is equally or more important we represent ourselves well. In a society that encourages behavior like what was displayed on June 27th, we might do well to check ourselves. We held an internal meeting a few days ago to review our Vision and Mission statements – something we do periodically to remind ourselves of what we are trying to achieve for our clients. When the cameras are off and nobody is around, how do we act? If you want to know a person’s true character, observe them when they think nobody else is watching. This is a question we should ask ourselves more often. How do you act when there isn’t anyone watching? Doing the right thing doesn’t have to be profound. When you pass someone on the sidewalk, greet them with a smile and a friendly hello. When someone is behind you, hold the door for them. When asking for help, say please. When receiving help, say thank you.

When debating, you give credibility to your opponent’s argument and present potential flaws. You then admit flaws in your argument, but present evidence that helps substantiate your claim. An empathetic approach in debate is more meaningful. It allows listeners to become better educated and can help eliminate confusion. Empathy is something Adams, Franklin, Jefferson, and Hancock would likely encourage if they were still with us. That is partially why I carry a gold dollar in my pocket with a picture of John Adams on it. It serves as my reminder.

I’ll leave you with his words as he is much cleverer and far more profound than me.

“You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.” – John Adams

Be well,

Spell Carr

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