Goodner: Can we even define what integrity is anymore?
Ongoing recent events such as congressional sex scandals, corporations’ outsourcing our middle class for a few extra bucks or even not getting over to let a car on the highway from an entrance ramp begs the question as to whether we as a culture can even define what integrity is anymore.
I would propose for your consideration that a significant characteristic of integrity is consideration of others; have I been just to all people that I have dealt with. The ageless adage of “do unto others” seems to have been pushed by the wayside in a self centered society where a majority of people wander around totally clueless as to how their behavior impacts others.
As an example, and the genesis of this letter let me share a story that happened to me this weekend. Using an online marketplace I contacted a seller of fishing gear in the Silverthorne/Dillon area. Friday evening we had a good conversation about what inventory was available and my driving out Saturday morning from the Colorado Springs area to purchase it.
Because of our conversation I made the trip of over 300 miles based on my belief in his integrity. I arrived in the area around 9:00 am but he had told me that he would be mountain biking all morning and only available after 2:00 pm. Therefore I enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the area until our appointed time for me to call him.
Upon calling him he informed me that he had sold the items earlier that morning. There is no doubt that he had the legal right to sell the merchandise to anyone he chose, give it to charity or burn it in the back yard. The question is if he was a man of integrity would he have called to tell me he would be available earlier, let me know another buyer was interested, call to tell me the goods were sold, or at the very least apologized for the time and expense that I was out because of his actions?
I believe this thoughtless behavior focusing solely on self interests and to heck with everyone else is the root cause of many of America’s current maladies. Whether we are talking about collapsing stock markets, a National debt that will be unsupportable by the next generation or even highway frustrations it comes down to someone was not concerned about how their behavior impacted someone else.
If we as a society no longer believe that consideration of others, civility and common decency are valuable characteristics of integrity will this still be a culture worth fighting for? If it is worth fighting for what are we willing to do to fight for it? For what it is worth, I wrote a letter to the Editor.
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